A Summer Solstice Diary
and other poems of nature's presence
This ACM Weekly begins with a diary of midsummer’s day. The weather varied a great deal throughout!
I wrote of the sights, sounds, and even scents as we moved through the daylight hours, completing the first draft of this poem on the morning of the 22nd. I was still modifying it as I prepared this post on the 26th, but it remains a very direct record of the day itself.
This is not the sort of summer solstice I remember from Phoenix, which was all about simply being so close to the unshaded sun. Here, although also in the desert, the day was ebullient, temperamental, slightly humid and, given this year’s early start to the monsoon season, even a bit wet.
But you may read about it here!
Summer Solstice 2022
This day we are nearest to the sun.
And at dawn Sun’s self rose
In a single robe of white
That hid his face in light as if it were a shadow–
Light, which he flings unheeding
Over the bareheaded mountains.
And at midmorning Sun and Sky
Are blent and wrapped together
In a mass of cloud and blue;
A few birds still call to lovers as heat rises,
And three butterflies–one tawny
And two white–make arabesques above
The rain-damp pool.
And at midday there are clouds
But no wind and the air is hot;
And Sun’s cloud-muted light drips green
From the wands of Palo Verdes.
The crickets murmur faintly;
Something scratches unseen among the rocks,
And I am left to wonder,
Is it cicada or lizard?
It stays hidden.
And in the afternoon Wind comes at last;
Great gusts create a solid roof of gray
With squalling raindrops to wash away the heat
While Sun yawns and blinks;
A million scents of moisture rise;
The neighbors’ pups come out to bark
And flaunt their young, lithe muscles
To a good-humored earth.
And at sundown Wind is quiet again;
A great coolness stills the dusk
While Sun returns to make his farewells;
He gleams through a flaming west
As Sky slowly clears the clutter of the afternoon;
Gray clouds fade to soft twilight;
And in the clearness voices of the birds
Blend all together to a limpid choir
(Do not forget the crickets;
They are singing too)
Across the vastness of evening;
And so we return Sun’s farewell
As flame melts from the far clouds.
And the song follows the sun.
Rabbits are usually a part of the morning view here.
In under the mesquite
And around the clumps of prickly pear.
Tuft of tail vanishes
In the dawn.
And a bit of humor: as we are informed that the meek shall inherit the earth, may I suggest the rabbit?
Blessed are rabbits
in the prickly pear thickets
they shall inherit.
A hummingbird has reappeared with the return of moisture!
Gray skies overhead,
rain makes bright red flowers–bzzz–
And lastly, I have two haiku about yucca. This is the season when the native yuccas are in full bloom. On our usual drive to Tucson, especially in the higher country around the town of Oracle, there is a great deal of yucca growing beside the road. So these two haiku are of scenes I see while driving.
Three ivory spires
rise up from a small hollow
where the road curves round
Forest of flowers,
tops touching the brilliant sky,
white and blue and white.
My first volume of poetry, The Hillside Diary, is currently on sale on Amazon!
I love that summer solstice poem. It's well written and engaing. The event itself is celebrated fanatically in Latvia where we once lived. The day there just doesn't get real dark. And although it's a very different environment, the emotion of how the Latvians celebrate this, somehow also is present in your poem. Beautiful!