Summer, its Glory, its Timelessness, its Passage


Calvin and Hobbes on the passage of summer

Dylan Thomas' Fern Hill: an idyllic childhood and its passage

< my thanks to Edmund Robinson who first introduced me to this work >
< in it, I finally found expression of that which I "see" in my large format photographic work >

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace.

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

My Poems


Summer's Height

I realize
in a summer dusk's falling light...

The clouds in rosy castles,
towering in ever-mounting battlements
a glowing mystery that dwarfs any earth-bound splendor.

Ever since my childhood imagination
was baptized by Pyle and Schoonmaker
in the books of Stevenson and the Arabian nights,
I yearn towards those castles...
Flying horses and djinns and
a flight to a spirit beyond the earh

So in the height of summer, I see them again.
It dawns on me....

MIght it be that, on such moment, one
could fly away into a glowing world where
summer is always at its height

where the battlements mount in peach
and apricot and lavender up to the blue of space
where lightning lights them from within
and sprites dance forever above,
where giant oaks and maples drowse like
breaching leviathans in the hay fields

and the cutting lash of autumn's frost
never comes
and death never closes the book
where the Destroyer of Delights and
Severer of Societies in never known.

Tell me it is so.


Field, Summer's morning

More and more, I
Look to the perfection,
the utter integrity
of the green world

No monk
sitting through the seasons
can approach
the peace,
the devotion,
the utter one-ness
of the green world.

Look.
Trees tack across
grassy rolling fields,
like galleons,
rising the crest of the wave,
Mid-Atlantic
every leafy sail set
catching the solar wind

You see
single trees,
surpassing mandalas,
perfect through
every degree of the circle.

You see
huge
and still
perfectly symmetrical trees...
but they are not one,
but multiples!
all combining to
the perfect  symmetry.

Flotillas,
every spar raised,
swaying under
the lash of light,
every sail set.
Drinking sun.
Sailing through
the summer.

I say unto you:
Even Solomon in
all his glory
was not arrayed
as one of these.
Even Solomon was not
half so much with
God.

Hear them breathe
See them move
Perfect in the love
of light


The Green Wood

<an old dream from years ago, I've never gotten out of my mind>

Asleep, I dream
In the dream,
I am in the Green Wood,
the deep-gladed, dapple-shadowed world
of huge trees, moss and
an immeasurable massy silence,
the world of Robin Hood and
Robin Goodfellow,
Mad Robin, England's Pan.

I turn and there, in some recess,
is a frozen leaping fountain..
of glass, or something more mutable,
stilled.
A voice tells me
'It is wicked sharp'

I turn again

Walking around the tree,
I see a long nave of trees
and
from immediately before me
to dwindling into
distance and darkness
There are two lines of dancers,
facing each other
in the form of a country dance.

The first few sets bow into the center
and to me
and gesture me into the dance



Communion

The Green World lives in summer

Every morning is an Annunciation.

the Sun breaks the horizon
where await
All its acolytes,
and devotees
without bound

Every space is taken,
every blade, every leaf, every needle
revels in the growing caress

However many million miles away,
the Sun holds all rapt in its grace.

(There is no rational disputation,
no considered choice,
no gourmet choosing this ray over that...
No free will....
but ecstatic communion.)

The Light is good,
it is all,
it is numinously perfect.
The essence of life.
Insubstantial.
Complete.
Transfixing
(the Green World)

The Sun mounts the sky,
the world warms to heat,
swims with light,
stirs with breeze.

Like their underwater kindred
the kelp forest,
the trees swim
in light and breeze
in utter dance.

One imagines
that were
a leaf,
a branch
even a tree
cut free,
it would be magnetically
drawn to the sun
or, at the very least,
play, dancing in the air,
for as long
as the Sun should shine.

The Summer
A holy rite, each moment eternal:

The Annunciation of sunrise,

a day,
swimming in light,
immersed in heat,

a sunset
Ave atque vale
from all the communicants


Flesh and Blood

The Green World
lives a different life
from flesh and blood.

The green world is always
growing.

The ancient
rotting
tottering
oak
will,
the spring before
it crumbles,
put forth new growth
and seed
prodigiously....

And,
worshiping the light,
down through its years,
it will do so
as long as it can force out
a leaf
from whatever is left.

Growing
every day
of its life.

But we
of the animal kingdom
are borne
and mature to adults.

So we remain
until our skein
unwinds.

Homo sapiens
(so knowing,
so wise)
....
stops growing.

So many of us
fail to worship
grace
and grow.

For we can continue
to grow
in spirit.

The Green World is
perfect in its devotion
to light
and the
grace of creation.
It never turns aside,
never questions.
It grows into a
mandala.

We of flesh and blood
must work and
forge
our growth
intangible
in our spirit,
our love,
our witness.

So many don't,
the rest do
in varying
degree.

The demands,
trials
of life
can help us.

We raise children,
who teach us.
We grow in
love
with partners
...and fail into
darkness, too.

We "grow" old,
turned
in the Lathe of Time.

Asking yet more,
we may grow in
spirituality,
towards emptiness,
towards humility
towards surrender.

Forging a growth,
day by day.
Always teetering
on the brink of
giving up.

Like some driver,
desperately tired,
wired with coffee,
drugged with fatigue,
we struggle to
stay on the road
and
grow



Summer's Passage

I hear the crows calling...
it's a special call they use
knocking on the door of fall.
Not their usual rising raucous cheer;
this call is meditative, falling,
musing on the end.

Summer had halted,
glorious, numinous high summer:
when the world goes on forever
and the world stops.
If you could just lose your silly
obssesive work and tasks and...
you might wander the rolling
fields, worship, with their
anthemic trees, the sun, and
who knows,
with a asking heart
and a surrendered mind,
you. might.  just.
wander out of time
and into Faerie...

But no.
You never took the time

Now the crows call.
It's muffled at first...
the leaves are still on the trees
But they will fall
and the crows' calls
will ring and echo
more and more
until the world is wasted shades
of brown and grey and then
white.



The Vault of Heaven

It is moments
such as there
I feel,
most keenly,
my mortality.

Not the passing time
not thickening sense...
even youth,
most juicy,
was I ever but an
acolyte prostrate
before
the Holy of Holies

Trapped within a body,
I reach for
the vault of heaven,
moth to the flame

Summer is gone.
Time wavers
into fall and falling light

Oh, but today,
this evening!
Everything sings in unity:
quiet, serene,
temperate.

Were there
wondrous glasses
to more clearly
apprehend eternity,
some magical prosthesis
to stride within
this glory,
to dive within
this light!

Even Icarus could not
soar within
this boundless bound

The vault of heaven
is perfect:
no cloud.

The sun falls to
the horizon;
The air stirs,
in slightest
caress.

I am a clod,
struggling to
limn this glow.

The immolation of
Blake, Whitman, Hopkins
Dickinson:
Spirit cries to the light.


So precious, so shining
Ringing in lambent grace

The light!
The Summer!

Hail and Farewell.