(Belated) Summer Solstice Hymn

For a variety of reasons, mostly having to do with busyness in other parts of my life, but also involving temporary loss of the notebook involved, I haven’t been able to type this up, much less post it. My apologies for anyone counting on it.

Summer Solstice Hymn

Hail to thee, Sun Unconquered, at your height:
we have watched you climb through lengthening days,
suffusing once-dim hours with warm light,
and bathing the world with life-giving rays.
With this triumph done, your downfall begins,
and though sweet greening clings to the soil
the flowers fade, and the wheel slowly turns.
There’s still time for purple blueberry grins,
and killing aphids — the gardener’s toil.
Wetlands stay canopied by woodland ferns.

Yet some maple leaves transform to yellow,
even as tart new blackberries take shape.
Snakes sun themselves on rocks; bullfrogs bellow.
Owl wings silent while these woods yet sleep,
hunting phoebe nestled among brambles.
Red-winged blackbird displays his sergeant’s stripes;
new bluets and buttercups carpet fields.
Young bucks walkabout on midnight rambles,
possessed at once by two great archetypes:
both lord of the forest and prey who yields.

Now red-tailed hawk teaches her young to fly;
from garden’s black earth springs basil and chive.
Oriole’s nest conceals a hungry cry:
All existence proclaims: We are alive!
Thus summer’s feast begins beneath your eye:
as lichen and mosses split open stone,
Indian pipe breaks down what died last year;
cattails make space for duck and dragonfly.
Oak takes pride in the half-inch he has grown:
though he rots, he’s still old and without peer.

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