Friday, July 01, 2011

Poetry Friday: July

Rereading this post, getting ready to publish it, I notice that I've used the word "perfect" three times. You know what? I'm not even going to change it. It fits.

How could it be July already? In the last weeks of the semester I read poems with my students about summer, and many of them referred to winter. Why, I asked my students, did poets do that? Why think of winter now?

Of course we appreciate summer more because we know that winter is coming. Summer, like everything in our lives, is temporary. It's ours to enjoy now, and to remember later.

I love this poem, "Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle Received from a Friend Called Felicity," with its idea of pickling the memories of summer so that they can be enjoyed. John Tobias writes:
The bites are fewer now.
Each one is savored lingeringly,
Swallowed reluctantly.

But in a jar put up by Felicity,
The summer which maybe never was
Has been captured and preserved.
And when we unscrew the lid
And slice off a piece
And let it linger on our tongue:
Unicorns become possible again.

While I was looking for the perfect July poem this morning I found "The Months", by Linda Pastan. Here's the July segment:


Tonight the fireflies
light their brief
in all the trees

of summer—
color of moonflakes,
color of fluorescent

where the ocean drags
its torn hem
over the dark

Fireflies are the perfect metaphor, aren't they? I just saw the first one a few days ago, and all too soon I'll see the last one for this year. Those "brief candles" will go out. How precious they are, until they do.

Today's the Daily Photo Blogs' theme day, and today's theme is green. Perfect. Take a look at thumbnails here.

Here's today's Poetry Friday roundup.


Andromeda Jazmon said...

Pickles and fireflies; two of my favorite July things! I don't know why every year it seems like summer is forever before the 4th and flies so quickly away after that landmark!

Tara said...

I know what you mean about July - I stared at the fresh new page on my calendar and it conjured up all the things I want to in this "vacation month"! That first poem was such a joy to read - such great sensory detail.

Joyce Ray said...

Ruth, thank you for the summer poems. I love the image of the ocean's torn hem dragging over the dark sand.

Janet said...

I love the idea of pickling summer, too!

I remember we used to declaim "out, out brief candle!" I have an old letter from you with that phrase in it. (It's followed by "Bird thou never wert!" -- I think we would make poetry splicings, or poetry mad libs, or something. :-)

Mary Lee said...


Ahh...Summer! (and fireflies, pickles, watermelon, and green)