Summer Splendor in Poetry

Photo Credit: Maria Wild

I love to share with you some beautiful poems that we find inspiring as a family, and since tomorrow is the official first day of summer, I hope you enjoy this selection.

A Boy and His Dad

Edgar Guest, 1881 – 1959

A boy and his dad on a fishing-trip—

There is a glorious fellowship!

Father and son and the open sky

And the white clouds lazily drifting by,

And the laughing stream as it runs along

With the clicking reel like a martial song,

And the father teaching the youngster gay

How to land a fish in the sportsman’s way.

I fancy I hear them talking there

In an open boat, and the speech is fair.

And the boy is learning the ways of men

From the finest man in his youthful ken.

Kings, to the youngster, cannot compare

With the gentle father who’s with him there.

And the greatest mind of the human race

Not for one minute could take his place.

Which is happier, man or boy?

The soul of the father is steeped in joy,

For he’s finding out, to his heart’s delight,

That his son is fit for the future fight.

He is learning the glorious depths of him,

And the thoughts he thinks and his every whim;

And he shall discover, when night comes on,

How close he has grown to his little son.

A boy and his dad on a fishing-trip—

Builders of life’s companionship!

Oh, I envy them, as I see them there

Under the sky in the open air,

For out of the old, old long-ago

Come the summer days that I used to know,

When I learned life’s truths from my father’s lips

As I shared the joy of his fishing-trips.

Bed in Summer

Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850 – 1894

In winter I get up at night

And dress by yellow candle-light.

In summer, quite the other way,

I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see

The birds still hopping on the tree,

Or hear the grown-up people’s feet

Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,

When all the sky is clear and blue,

And I should like so much to play,

To have to go to bed by day?

June Light

Richard Wilbur, 1921 – 2017

Your voice, with clear location of June days,

Called me outside the window.

You were there, Light yet composed, as in the just soft stare

Of uncontested summer all things raise

Plainly their seeming into seamless air.

Then your love looked as simple and entire

As that picked pear you tossed me, and your face

As legible as pear skin’s fleck and trace,

Which promise always wine, by mottled fire

More fatal fleshed than ever human grace.

And your gay gift—Oh when I saw it fall

Into my hands, through all that naïve light,

It seemed as blessed with truth and new delight

As must have been the first great gift of all.

In Summer

Paul Laurence Dunbar, 1872 – 1906

Oh, summer has clothed the earth

In a cloak from the loom of the sun!

And a mantle, too, of the skies’ soft blue,

And a belt where the rivers run.

And now for the kiss of the wind,

And the touch of the air’s soft hands,

With the rest from strife and the heat of life,

With the freedom of lakes and lands.

I envy the farmer’s boy

Who sings as he follows the plow;

While the shining green of the young blades lean

To the breezes that cool his brow.

He sings to the dewy morn,

No thought of another’s ear;

But the song he sings is a chant for kings

And the whole wide world to hear.

He sings of the joys of life,

Of the pleasures of work and rest,

From an o’erfull heart, without aim or art;

T is a song of the merriest.

O ye who toil in the town,

And ye who moil in the mart,

Hear the artless song, and your faith made strong

Shall renew your joy of heart.

Oh, poor were the worth of the world

If never a song were heard,—

If the sting of grief had no relief,

And never a heart were stirred.

So, long as the streams run down,

And as long as the robins trill,

Let us taunt old Care with a merry air,

And sing in the face of ill.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? (Sonnet 18)

William Shakespeare, 1564 – 1616

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,

Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

with love. Damaris

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