The sky at summer’s coming dons a cloak of dust
stirred up by wind to form a parasol
for keeping off the heat from earth.
The bees fly not as hitherto forthwith
to drink the nectar of the coral tree,
for they doubt its flower may be forest fire.
Someone hands you an English thriller,
You don’t read English.
You’ve worked up a thirst
for something you can’t afford.
You have deep insights,
brand new, and they sound
like an academic glossing Hölderlin.
You hear the waves at night
ramping against the shore
and you think: that’s what waves do.
Worse: you’re asked out
when at home you get better coffee,
silence, and you don’t expect to be amused.
Awful: not to die in summer
under a bright sky
when the rich dirt
falls easily from the shovel.
Now are the days of summer’s glory,
which appoints for lust the hour before dawn,
which congeals somewhat the milk of coconuts,
ripens the royal plantain,
and is loveliest at sunset.
Snow in summer on a dry tongue is sweet,
and after winter sweet for the sailor
to see the spring stars,
but sweetest when one cloak shelters
and the Kyprian is praised.
Many poplars and many elms shook overhead,
and close by, holy water swashed down noisily
from a cave of the nymphs. Brown grasshoppers
whistled busily through the dark foliage. Far
treetoads gobbled in the heavy thornbrake.
Larks and goldfinch sang, turtledoves were moaning,
and bumblebees whizzed over the plashing brook.
The earth smelled of rich summer and autumn fruit:
we were ankle-deep in pears, and apples rolled
all about our toes. With dark damson plums
the young sapling branches trailed on the ground.