Hail to you, bright summer, gathered in green,
all thickly swaddled in rustling leaf:
squirrel and chipmunk are grown sleek and lean;
raptor glides on updrafts of pure belief.
Ferns overhang every brook and each pool,
and bramble claims another patch of turf.
Frog conceals himself in grasses grown tall
in sun-showered field. Under oaks, it’s cool,
and Ocean sends a warning in the surf
that life is both precious and very small.
There are deer, lying dead, beside the road,
but a black mole escapes the owl’s beak.
Fox and coyote overlook a toad.
Nothing in nature is naïve or weak:
all beings cleave to ancient strategies,
and tend to their tribes through famine and feast.
White maggots choose turkey as sacred food;
gnawed antlers carry hidden histories
of fieldmouse and shrew, and those noticed leas,
who carry much of Mother Nature’s load.
Summer is wrought with tiny artistries:
the roots of a fern; a snake’s meander;
the blood in a humming-bird’s arteries;
the crimson-black wings on a tanager;
Tall grasses bent heavy with ticks and dew;
moss and lichen paired with partridgeberry.
What rotting oak sheds, earthworm will renew,
and honeybees now build in the hollows,
where woodpecker once danced and made merry.
This poem, or rather this series of poems just posted, brings to twenty-two pages the cycle of Great Year poems — the sonnets for the moon, the seasonal greetings, the great sabbats and esbats, and a few festival days. I should think about publishing. At the same time, it’s hard to contemplate that, because there are a great many pieces in this cycle that I consider necessary that I haven’t written yet. I suppose, once the Moon/Esbat/Sabbat cycle is finished, that I could publish that — and then later bring out a collection of the festival day poems. Something to consider.
How many readers would buy such a book?
Edit: I just said to one of my colleagues at boy scout camp, that given how I started the summer (in my Mother’s words) “barely knowing an oak from an oriole” I’ve made great progress. Maybe forty plants, thirty birds, six snake types, eight frogs and toads, moles and shrews and fieldmice and chipmunks. Progress indeed.