Summer Poem

July, midday, the sky is white
Sunlight straight down
Wind blows hot

Yellow grass doesn’t let go
From gray earth
Broken, into thick polygons

No birds
They’re in the bushes or the trees
Waiting

Wasp’s flight zig-zags
To and from the comb
Paper geometry on wooden deck

Lawn chair empty, cushion bleached
Garden hose coiled and dry
Metal box hums electric, hypnotic

No people
They’re inside
Waiting

A mile away
On the beach
It’s not as hot

The water’s here
Whooshing in
Whooshing out

On thin yellow legs seagull runs
Reaches white wings out
Returns to hovering, looking, asking

I step into the cold Great Lake
Green toward the horizon
Clear straight down

Threshold of stone-sand
Painful under my feet
Gives way like mud, pulls me to my ankles

I escape, stepping further out
Onto the bottom of flat-sand
My knees and thighs submerge

I continue
Cold water rising
Between legs, above waist

Over stomach and chest
Coldness squeezes me
Takes my breath

A wave rolls into me
My feet rise from the bottom
The water’s covered my shoulders

Sweeping my arms
Pedaling my legs
I breath easily

My entire body cooled
Exhilarated
Removed

Lake swells higher
West cloud mass, blue-black
Far away, flashes and rumbles

I swim ashore
Corners of beach towel lift
Uprooted umbrella rolls in colors

There’s still time
To make it home
To be there for it

Gray-black sky bending backyard trees
Green leaves and twigs in air
Sideways mix of dust and rain

Gray-black sky sending groundward Zs
Of branching neon
Thin and jagged

A startling crack!
Then loud rumble rolling
Ground shaking

Air cools suddenly
Wind gives way
To gray downpour

Birdbath overflows
Into mid-yard moving stream
Clear water drowns the grass

Rush of raindrops
Removes the stored heat
From roof, driveway, sidewalk

Electric hum clicks off
Deck door slides open
A ruffled robin begins to sing

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6 Comments

Filed under Poetry

6 responses to “Summer Poem

  1. Vi

    Jim
    your poetry is really good..cant wait for more!
    Ruffled robin ha?..:)

  2. Martin J Frankson

    I love the epic nature of this poem and how you describe the swimmer becoming at one with the lake and hoping to make it back home in time before the storm comes a-chasing. Initially I thought you employed haiku but on coiunting the syllables, it doesnt seem so but the verses do have that shape. It would be interesting to see how this poem would evolve if you turned each verse into a haiku. Excellent poem though. The language evokes the heat and the cold of a summer’s day in a cold lake. Thanks for sharing this, Jim

  3. Nice poem. Felt it had some kind of spiritual element to it. Well done.

  4. Jim B

    Your descriptions (e.g. paper geometry and branching neon) were great. I really felt the intensity of your environment. Nicely done!

  5. Curtis Fahlberg

    I felt the wave hit. I saw the steam rise. Positively organic! Excellent!

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