A SUMMER AFTERNOON

Heavy as hot wet flannel, every breath…
I hate to sit or move against
this August afternoon.
Sticky-damp, clothes cling,
a drag against ambition.

Birds, lethargic, dull,
sing only if they must,
fly ghostlike if at all 
through dusty drooping trees.
Cicadas ratchet on and on–
maddeningly constant;
mosquitoes whine
or strike unheard, the devils!

Roses overblown and bright,
relishing this tropic season,
exude aromas heavy and too sweet.
I languish, scowling, discontent 
and longing for the night–
for sleeping cool and waking
to a morning softly lit, a little chill–
a tease dispelled by ten o’clock.

A distant rolling grumble… Ah!
The thick and heavy air is stirring–
Ozone sharply breaks the roses’ hold
upon the atmosphere–
the light is strange and green and darkening,
and thunder rolls and rolls and rolls again,
bolder, growling ever nearer now…!
A little wraith pops up
where a raindrop slaps the dust
and lightning cracks!
across the canopy of cloud–
and down the deluge comes
drowning wraiths and dust,
silencing cicadas in mid-song,
washing mosquitoes from the air…
I stir, I go down from the house
with gratitude
to greet the storm and lift my face
to the blessing rain.

In half an hour, it is done:
birds exulting, flicker through
the clean and gleaming trees,
they lose the dust that dulled them
drink on the wing
and refresh their song;
cicadas scrape out again their noise;
the roses, freshened, lift their heads and buds,
bejeweled in crystal beads;
A beam of sunlight shoots from west to east
and mists rising, catch the glow…
The heat retires before
the evening coming on…

copyright August 2006, revised June 2020 by CLRedding




copyright August 2006, revised June 2020 by CLRedding

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