Poetry Sunday: Summer Wind by William Cullen Bryant

Our high temperature on Saturday was 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Sunday's predicted high is 104, as is Monday's. Most days recently have exceeded the century mark. I don't remember when we last had rain but it has been weeks and we have a very slight chance for it this week. And yet most of the tough old plants that I have in my garden are thriving with very little help from us since we are under water restrictions. How do they face that blistering sun day after day and still manage to look fresh? 

To sum up, our weather at the moment is miserable. There is no relief in sight for us. Even the summer wind is hot.

Summer Wind

by William Cullen Bryant

It is a sultry day; the sun has drunk
The dew that lay upon the morning grass;
There is no rustling in the lofty elm
That canopies my dwelling, and its shade
Scarce cools me. All is silent, save the faint
And interrupted murmur of the bee,
Settling on the sick flowers, and then again
Instantly on the wing. The plants around
Feel the too potent fervors: the tall maize
Rolls up its long green leaves; the clover droops
Its tender foliage, and declines its blooms.
But far in the fierce sunshine tower the hills,
With all their growth of woods, silent and stern,
As if the scorching heat and dazzling light
Were but an element they loved. Bright clouds,
Motionless pillars of the brazen heaven–
Their bases on the mountains–their white tops
Shining in the far ether–fire the air
With a reflected radiance, and make turn
The gazer’s eye away. For me, I lie
Languidly in the shade, where the thick turf,
Yet virgin from the kisses of the sun,
Retains some freshness, and I woo the wind
That still delays his coming. Why so slow,
Gentle and voluble spirit of the air?
Oh, come and breathe upon the fainting earth
Coolness and life! Is it that in his caves
He hears me? See, on yonder woody ridge,
The pine is bending his proud top, and now
Among the nearer groves, chestnut and oak
Are tossing their green boughs about. He comes;
Lo, where the grassy meadow runs in waves!
The deep distressful silence of the scene
Breaks up with mingling of unnumbered sounds
And universal motion. He is come,
Shaking a shower of blossoms from the shrubs,
And bearing on their fragrance; and he brings
Music of birds, and rustling of young boughs,
And sound of swaying branches, and the voice
Of distant waterfalls. All the green herbs
Are stirring in his breath; a thousand flowers,
By the road-side and the borders of the brook,
Nod gayly to each other; glossy leaves
Are twinkling in the sun, as if the dew
Were on them yet, and silver waters break
Into small waves and sparkle as he comes.

Comments

  1. A lovely verse. I hope you get some rain soon, Dorothy, but I guess the heat will persist for a few weeks yet. I can barely imagine dealing with it day after day. I am quite sure I would have to be out by daybreak each day and stay indoors for the rest of the day - and that would be tough for me!

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    Replies
    1. I'm only out for any extended period in the very late afternoon after the sun goes behind the trees. It's still hot then but bearable.

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  2. I hear you on the weather! We hit 104 yesterday; a new record. And no rain in sight. We're just trying to keep our trees and flowers alive through all this heat. Hope your plants continue to survive!

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    Replies
    1. I just walked through the yard and was gratified to see that most things are still thriving. But as this hot, dry weather continues they will be taxed to their limit.

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  3. A lovely poem which brings back memories of living in Wichita, Kansas during an extended heatwave (we got up to 112 but it was probably less humid than what you are experiencing) in July/August of 1980. Hang in there; better weather days will be coming.

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    Replies
    1. Any temperature under 100 would be most welcome now.

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  4. We had a small break in the 100's over the weekend with highs around 98 but for the 10 day forecast it's all 100 or above. It's hot! We've not had any rain either. Hope we get some soon!

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    Replies
    1. It is the lack of rain that hurts the most. We expect and can deal with the heat, but it is heartbreaking to see the suffering of the plants in this drought.

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