Poetry Sunday: Mother, Summer, I

Recently, we have been in a cycle of late afternoon thunderstorms, following very hot and humid summer days. Sometimes the thunder brings much appreciated rain with it; sometimes not.

Like the poet Philip Larkin, I, too, am summer-born, and although summer is not my favorite season, I find that the older I get, the less I mind its inconveniences. And, unlike the poet's mother, I do love a good summer storm that clears and freshens the air and reminds us that a break in the heat is coming.

Winter may not be coming to Southeast Texas, but more pleasant weather is, if we can just hold out until October!

Mother, Summer, I

by Philip Larkin

My mother, who hates thunder storms,
Holds up each summer day and shakes
It out suspiciously, lest swarms
Of grape-dark clouds are lurking there;
But when the August weather breaks
And rains begin, and brittle frost
Sharpens the bird-abandoned air,
Her worried summer look is lost,

And I her son, though summer-born
And summer-loving, none the less
Am easier when the leaves are gone
Too often summer days appear
Emblems of perfect happiness
I can't confront: I must await
A time less bold, less rich, less clear:
An autumn more appropriate.


  1. Summer born as well. In MI and NJ I loved the thunderstorms--all of it, the lightning, the boom and clap of thunder, the breaking of the heat and humidity. Some years we have had July showers in So Cal but I don't see any such thing in the forecast this year. Just came thru a 3 day wave of 104 degree temps.

    1. We haven't had any triple digits so far, but our mid to high 90s feel like 104, 105. That's miserable. Stay cool!

  2. I was summer born too, but born in England, where the summers are very different to the Texas summers! I do find the Texas summers rather difficult to get through, and my poor garden tends to suffer because of it! I do enjoy a good Texas thunderstorm though.

    1. Summer is certainly our most challenging season here, but when those late afternoon thunderstorms roll in from the Gulf, they make it almost bearable to be outside. I can appreciate the poet's sentiment of awaiting "an autumn more appropriate".

  3. I love this poem. I'm winter-born, but I have come to appreciate summer more and more in the last few years due to the harshness of the latest winters in New England. I like summer thunderstorms, of which we have had a fair share recently, because they promise relief of humidity and heat. I wish it were 75-80 F in New England all year long.

    1. Yes, 75-80 sounds pleasant indeed. Our 95-100 not so much, but we definitely agree about the thunderstorms. As it happens, we're having another - with rain this time - as I type!

  4. I am late fall born. Late, late, late fall. I love the imagery of this poem; shaking out the cards, indeed. Our mid to late springs and summers are my favorite time here. Of course, come winter, I'm depending on your blog and other Southern blogs to get me through.

    1. This is certainly a pleasant time of year for many more northerly parts of the country. I can see how it would be a favorite time for you.


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