Summer. The time of tank tops and flip flops, of sunscreen and sunglasses. When the sun beats down, heating the air to a goosebumps-inducing warmth. Ice cream sales go up, parka sales go down (or at least, you’d think they would). Kids are frolicking, mosquitos and blackflies are feasting; everyone’s freezing in the blasted air-conditioning of the movie theatre. And, as always, the season of construction begins (everyone’s favourite part, right?).
Yes, that’s right. Break out the shades, the season of summer is fast approaching. For those post-secondary students who are done with exams, it’s already here – even if we haven’t technically hit the official “first day of summer” on the calendar.
In celebration of the imminent season, I thought I’d share some poems with you. Not all of the poems mention summer, or anything that might indicate that the poem was intended to be about summer. But in reading each one, summer is imprinted into my brain – the bright sunlight glinting off of objects, lush green grass dotted with dandelions, a vibrant blue sky, and fluffy white clouds. Each of these poems feel like summer to me.
Streetlight, Afternoon by Sue Sinclair
Nowhere in this poem does it explicitly say anything about summer. Yet – in my opinion, at least – the entire poem exudes summer. The sun glinting off of the streetlight under a bright blue sky, bicycles and skateboards piloted by energetic children – not to mention that it’s noon, and any other time of the year children are either in school or the weather isn’t bike and skateboard friendly.
Walking Stick by Deirdre Kessler
The only solid indication that this poem takes place in summer is the mention of honeysuckle, mulberries, and blackberries – honeysuckle blooms from spring into early fall, and both mulberries and blackberries ripen in the summer. Yet even if you don’t have the knowledge of the peak season of honeysuckle blooms and ripe berries (trust me, I had to look it up too), this poem still feels like summer. The freedom of the children; the smack of the screen door as children burst outside, barely slowing to open the door.
Horse Girls by Tammy Armstrong
When I read this poem, I see a field of long grass dotted with tiny flowers. The sun beats down in a way that seems to make every colour paler. A girl rides bareback on a chestnut-coloured horse, girl-hair and horse-hair alike fluttering in the breeze as a group of boys watch from behind the wooden rail fence. Clad in jeans and a t-shirt, the girl’s feet are bare (while I realize that the “tanned foot” used to open the gate is probably a tanned-leather boot, I initially read it as a bare foot tanned by the summer sun, and that’s the image that stuck in my mind).
A Summer Day by Lucy Maud Montgomery
This poem hardly needs an explanation for being on this list. It describes an idealistic summer’s day, starting with the dewy hope of dawn, moving to the buzzing heat of mid-day, and ending with the cooling breeze of dusk.
Until next time,
a.k.a. the girl who loves her new knit hat a little too much to not wear it, even though it’s probably too warm out (but can you blame me, it’s reversible!)
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