ManicDdaily (a/k/a Karin Gustafson) here, in the dog days of summer, that time of year when the season’s spark is gone (along with the fireflies), but somehow the heat goes on.
We’ve all, at least in New York City, gotten a bit tired of it. The July bravado that an egg can actually fry on our sole-melting sidewalks has given way to August’s irritation at being served up yet another gritty fried egg.
Even those who live in more rural locales may be suffering from summer’s dregs: the garden lettuce starting to thin, fall harvest not yet in, you may be stuck with zucchini. (Lots of zucchini.)
Summer is an age-old springboard for poetry (“shall I compare thee to a summer’s day”) in part because of its beauty, but also because of its many contradictions–not just Shakespeare’s “rough winds,” but growth and rot; drench and parch; romance (first kiss on the ferris wheel) and heartbreak (first break-up behind the concession stand); taking it easy and taking it (as in, protest) to the streets.
It is also a season that has indelibly marked most of our childhoods. (I immediately think of the backs of knees imprinted by hot car seat, grass stains on Keds, joy, sadness). In Three Songs At The End of Summer, Jane Kenyon beautifully describes the type of deep nostalgia summer evokes (as well as its inherent contradictions.) A couple of short segments from the poem:
“Across the lake the campers have learned
to water ski. They have, or they haven’t.
Sounds of the instructor’s megaphone
suffuse the hazy air. “Relax! Relax!”
(from the first part of Three Songs at the End of Summer)
“The cicada’s dry monotony breaks
over me. The days are bright
and free, bright and free.
Then why did I cry today
for an hour, with my whole
body, the way babies cry?”
(from the second part of Three Songs at the End of Summer, by Jane Kenyon, from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2005 by the Estate of Jane Kenyon; Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota.)
So, on that cheerful note (!)–and please let me clear — I LOVE SUMMER! – the prompt today is summer in any permutation that you wish — that is, shining hot and full overhead, or lurking only in the dry dust that keeps trying to clog your pen. (Only, forget about writer’s drought! If you have it-or even if you don’t – come visit your fellow poets here at dVerse for inspiration and more.)
Down to specifics:
- Write your poem about, stemming from, springing off of, swimming/sunbathing/lounging/fingerlicking, protesting, shivering or sweltering in, Summer! (For you in the Southern Hemisphere- the season is wide open! Though please feel free to write of your own summer months.)
- Post it on your blog
- Click the Mr. Linky button below, and in the new window that opens up input your name and direct url of the poem
- Have fun and visit others who have taken the challenge
- Share via your favourite social media platforms
For an extremely different take on summer and its dog days and even protest, you may want to check out the segment from “Dog Day Afternoon,” the Sidney Lumet film, starring Al Pacino and John Cazale (warning profanity, threatened violence):
P.S. – ManicDdaily is responsible for Pearl as well as the elephant above (and eggs), and holds all copyrights to those images.