Friday, June 16, 2017

Poetry Friday: Sun Tea

The second week of summer vacation is ending, and I can hardly point to anything I've accomplished.  I keep dozing off in the tropical heat, my book half-read, my paragraph half-written.  I am steeping in the sun, like the gallon after gallon of sun tea I've been making every day.  I go out barefoot in my pyjamas to get the alchemy started first thing in the morning, and then before I know it, it's night time, and another irreplaceable summer day has slipped away.

This morning I made extra, since we have guests for dinner, and then I came back inside and thought, I should write a poem about sun tea, and then I thought, I bet lots of people have written poems about sun tea, and so I tried Google.

Not as many as I expected, given how beautiful the golden tea gets just before I bring it inside and sweeten it and stick it in the fridge.  Maybe everybody else is dozing off on these summer days, too.  Here are some poems that caught my attention from my Google search:

This one won a prize in the Illinois State Poetry Contest in 2015.  I love the summer skies of "widening blue / spotted with cotton."

This one's about memories of a lost love, and contains reading and writing and a "hot thick humid Ohio summer."

This one begins: "Memories should taste / like a fresh pitcher of sun tea," and they totally should.

This is the kind of day that turns into memories, and before it's over I plan to laugh until my stomach hurts with my son who will only be 14 in June this once, text with my daughter who is in London, kiss my husband, read about teaching and underline a lot and make notes for August, hang out and eat pizza with friends (one couple has been married about six months and the other is expecting a little girl to arrive any day, maybe even today), and perhaps write a poem about sun tea, before the sun sets on this irreplaceable day.

What is So Rare as a Day in June?
AND what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays;
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean
To be some happy creature's palace;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o'errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,-
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best? 

Now is the high-tide of the year,
And whatever of life hath ebbed away
Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer,
Into every bare inlet and creek and bay;
Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it,
We are happy now because God wills it;
No matter how barren the past may have been,
'Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green;
We sit in the warm shade and feel right well
How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell;
We may shut our eyes but we cannot help knowing
That skies are clear and grass is growing;
The breeze comes whispering in our ear,
That dandelions are blossoming near,
That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,
That the river is bluer than the sky,
That the robin is plastering his house hard by;
And if the breeze kept the good news back,
For our couriers we should not lack;
We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing,-
And hark! How clear bold chanticleer,
Warmed with the new wine of the year,
Tells all in his lusty crowing!
Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how;
Everything is happy now,
Everything is upward striving;
'Tis as easy now for the heart to be true
As for grass to be green or skies to be blue,-
'Tis for the natural way of living:
Who knows whither the clouds have fled?
In the unscarred heaven they leave not wake,
And the eyes forget the tears they have shed,
The heart forgets its sorrow and ache;
The soul partakes the season's youth,
And the sulphurous rifts of passion and woe
Lie deep 'neath a silence pure and smooth,
Like burnt-out craters healed with snow.

James Russell Lowell 


Robyn Hood Black said...

"He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest, -
In the nice ear of Nature, which song is the best?" -

Love your own sun-tea songs of the nest, Ruth - thanks for sharing in our little corner of the wide world!

Tabatha said...

So many lovely poems you're sharing with us today, Ruth! I am struck by "until the sun drops like a penny/into the slit of the earth" and the beautiful way the first poet talks about his mama's sun tea. I should really brew up a batch. "And if the breeze kept the good news back, For our couriers we should not lack;" -- enjoy these good, lazy days!

Linda B said...

I enjoyed every 'drop' of your sun tea post, Ruth, maybe especially the intro. I like hearing you show your time at home, wrapping it around glasses of sun tea no matter whether morning or evening. Wishing you a joyous day like this every day. Indeed, "Now is the high-tide of the year".

Kay said...

So many lovely poems--as refreshing as a tall glass of sun tea! Enjoy these days and laugh away!

Jane @ said...

I'd never heard of sun tea before, but I feel like I've drained a tall cool glass!

Mary Lee said...

"This irreplaceable day"

That needs to be my morning mantra EVERY day!

Ramona said...

Love that you're steeping in the sun. What a glorious way to begin summer vacation!
Thanks for the sun tea poems and the Lowell poem. Love these lines:
"Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;"

Mrs. Wyman said...

I love the idea of getting the "alchemy started first thing in the morning." For me it's coffee on the porch not long after the birds start singing. Enjoy! -- Christie @

michelle kogan said...

This is a lovely poem by James Russell Lowell and so timely as it's almost summer equinox. I love these forgotten and hardly ever used words filled with metaphor, atilt–
"The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,

Thanks for all the Sun Tea poems Ruth, I liked your third one, "Resetting Our Clocks," the movement of it reminded me of a Mary Oliver poem, who I like very much.

jama said...

It's too easy to forget that every day is irreplaceable. Thanks for the reminder and the lovely buffet of poetic sun teas and the dazzling Lowell poem too! Enjoy the rest of your summer break!

Violet N. said...

Ruth, you sound absolutely happy, content, even jubilant. Are you sure there's only tea in that elixir you just popped into the fridge? That Lowell poem is chock-a-block with beautiful images and June glory. I don't know that I've ever read it entirely. Thanks for it. (It's going into my digital scrapbook.)

Brenda at FriendlyFairyTales said...

What happy thoughts on summer. I love "buttercup catches the sun in its chalice" and the lazy plans and scope of your days.