Sort me O tongue and lips for nature’s sake, souvenirs of earliest summer, gather the welcome signs.
The summer approaching with richness,
The early summer grass so rich, with that early-summer perfume, a show of the summer softness,
The fresh-cool summer-scent, odors of pine and oak, oceans of mint—
Everywhere great patches of dingy-blossom’d horse-mint wafting a spicy odor through the air, (especially evenings.)
The summer fully awakening,
The summer air, the bright sun shining, and the sailing clouds aloft,
Fresh blows the dallying breeze,
The air of ripe summer bears lightly along white down-balls of myriads of seeds.
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass—
It will have a good effect upon me the rest of the summer.
Green the midsummer verdure,
Fields and farms and rolling country, like paradise,
The droves and crops increase.
The country here is beautiful with hay and wheat,
They are just now in the height of harvest for both—
O harvest of my lands! O boundless summer growths!
Busy the far, the sunlit panorama,
The fields all busy with labor,
Farmers in the fields with stout boys pitching and loading the sheaves,
The loosely stack’d grain, the slow-moving wagons passing.
Below a fertile valley spread, with barns and the orchards of summer,
The barns are well-fill’d; the familiar delicious perfume fills the barns and lanes.
Honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon, darting through the air or lighting on the hive, their thighs covered with the yellow forage.
The setting summer sun shining in my open window, showing the swarm of flies, suspended, balancing in the air in the centre of the room, darting athwart, up and down, casting swift shadows in specks on the opposite wall where the shine is.
Perennial hardy life of me with joys ‘mid rain and many a summer sun,
The delicious tender summer day,
Transparent summer morning,
Mad naked summer night.
All summer the sound of the sea,
Splashing my bare feet in the edge of the summer.
Summer rivulets by the road-sides,
The reflection of the summer sky in the water—
Receive the summer sky, you water, and faithfully hold it till all downcast eyes have time to take it from you!
Today is burning hot—the sun poured down whole lumps of red hot fire,
Not a tree, not a shed to shelter us from the intolerable glare.
I too never used to think anything of heat or cold, from age 20 to 50—but last summer I felt the heat severely, for the first time.
Ah, sunset breeze, whispering, something again, unseen,
Where late this heated day thou enterest at my window, door,
Thou, laving, tempering all, cool-freshing, gently vitalizing,
Me, old, alone, sick, weak-down, melted-worn with sweat;
Nestling, folding close and firm yet soft, companion better than talk, book, art,
So sweet thy primitive taste to breathe within—thy soothing fingers on my face and hands.
Thou, messenger-magical strange bringer to body and spirit of me,
Blown from lips so loved, now gone,
Minister to speak to me, here and now, what word has never told, and cannot tell,
Art thou not universal concrete’s distillation?
Hast thou no soul? Can I not know, identify thee?
Year that trembled and reel’d beneath me!
Sauntering later in summer, before I think where I go, solitary,
Your summer wind was warm enough, yet the air I breathed froze me.
Winds blow south, or winds blow north,
Some future summer bursting forth,
To verdant leaves, or sheltering shade—
To nourishing fruit, apples and grapes, blackberries in summer—
And love and faith, like scented roses blooming.