Friday, June 08, 2012

Poetry Friday: A Hot Day

It's supposed to be 99 degrees today here in Port-au-Prince. Everything is coated with dust, and the poinciana trees are in bloom. It's completely, 100% summer. Sadly, though, I have to go to two meetings today and finish draping dustcloths over everything in my classroom. So make that 99% summer.

I was thinking about this poem, which I've loved since high school, and was happy to find that I had it written down, in my careful 16-year-old handwriting, with my lower case a self-consciously ... I had to pause here and look up the way to say that, and I didn't really find any way to say it except that the way I made my a was with "an upper terminal over the bowl." People, there is a whole page here about the letter A. How amazing is the internet?

Anyway, what was I saying?

Oh yes, it's hot. And this poem expresses that so evocatively, except that the hot here is not Haiti hot, but England hot, "what is so rare as a day in June" hot, bringing back all kinds of lovely memories of hanging out on the tennis court in my summer school uniform. Well, actually, my summer school uniform was hideously unflattering and I hated it, and I didn't like playing tennis, either, though I liked watching it, and even went to Wimbledon once.

But enough. Let's get to the poem.

A Hot Day
by A.S.J. Tessimond

Cottonwool clouds loiter.
A lawnmower, very far,
Birrs. Then a bee comes
To a crimson rose and softly,
Defly and fatly crams
A velvet body in.

A tree, June-lazy, makes
A tent of dim green light.
Sunlight weaves in the leaves,
Honey-light laced with leaf-light,
Green interleaved with gold.
Sunlight gathers its rays
In sheaves, which the wind unweaves
And then reweaves - the wind
That puffs a smell of grass
Through the heat-heavy, trembling
Summer pool of air.


I like Tessimond's poems (here are some more of them and here's a favorite I posted back in 2006.) I imagine there will be lots of fabulous poems today in the Poetry Friday roundup, and since Jama is hosting, there is bound to be plenty of delicious food served. Head on over!

10 comments:

jama said...

What a stunning poem! Perfect images, and as you say so evocative. Love "Honey-light laced with leaf-light,/Green interleaved with gold."
Interleaved! Wow!

Loved your Wimbledon post, too. I lived there for a couple of years and got to see Martina play before she became a champion. I cherish my memories of strawberries and cream -- and how "civilized" tennis is. :)

"Quiet, please."

Tabatha said...

Loved the poem and your memories. Feel free to ramble at will :-) Hope you get to 100% summer soon.

Renee LaTulippe said...

Oh, those sounds, those sounds! Fabulous! And "June-lazy" is exactly what I feel right now...

Liz Steinglass said...

I love the inclusion of the lawnmower sound which really does seem to be the anthem of summer. I also love the weaves, sheaves, unweaves, and reweaves.

Ruth, my poem today is about being hot and at school. So perhaps it will resonate with you.

Keep cool. Liz

Joyce Ray said...

Ruth, thank you for introducing me to Tessimond! The images in "A Hot Day" are stunning. "a tent of dim green light", "sunlight gathers its rays in sheaves","puffs a smell of grass through the heat-heavy, trembling summer pool of air". And the internal rhyme in "Radio" is fabulous.

Linda at teacherdance said...

Not as hot as Haiti, but it is hot for us in Denver, 90 right now at about 4:30pm. Supposed to be 95 tomorrow. I love the lines about sunlight and weaving it into the leaves/"honey light laced with leaf light." Special poem, Ruth@

Author Amok said...

It's a beautiful poem, Ruth. We planted some new perennials in our garden this year, and I've loved watching the bees discover the flowers. They are so methodical!

Enjoy your summer.

Mary Lee said...

That word CRAM is such a jar, but so perfect!

Tara said...

A June-lazy treat of a poem...makes me yearn for the heat of the summer, Ruth!

Roland said...

Have been teaching this poem since I started in the profession in 1992. Now a Headteacher, I am preparing to introduce it to a group of young people from a deprived area of London as part of the outreach work my school is doing. A frosty day here in Surrey but hoping the stunning images in this poem warm things up... Poetry at it's best: verb-stressed sentences with great imagery.