Poetry Sunday: An August Cricket by Arthur Goodenough

Sitting on the swing in the backyard, listening to the song of a cricket in the shrubbery next to my little pond, I thought, "Someone should write a poem about that cricket who is completely undaunted by the heat." And, sure enough, someone already had! 

An August Cricket

by Arthur Goodenough

When August days are hot and long,
And the August hills are hazy,
And clouds are slow and winds also,
And brooks are low and lazy.

When beats the fierce midsummer sun,
Upon the drying grasses;
A modest minstrel sings his song
To any soul that passes.

A modest, yet insistent bard
Who while the landscape slumbers;
And Nature seems, herself asleep,
Pours out his soul in numbers.

His song is in a tongue unknown,
Yet those, methinks, who hear it
Drink in its healing melody
Renewed in frame and spirit.

His life is brief as is the leaf
To summer branches clinging!
But yet no thought of death or grief,
He mentions in his singing.

No epic strain is his to sing;—
No tale of loss or glory;—
He has no borrowed heroines;
His heroes are not gory.

He is no scholar; all he knows
Was taught by his condition,
He never studied synthesis,
Nor simple composition.

His lays are all of rustic themes;
Of summer's joys and treasure
Yet scarce could Homer's masterpiece,
Afford us keener pleasure.


  1. Perhaps there is a good deal to be said for not having human memory, when we can dwell on past glory (are you listening Mr. Putin?) and seek to recreate it.

    1. Somehow the past always seems more glorious to us than the present in our imaginations.

  2. What a great poem! I love the sound of crickets chirping at night in the summertime. :D

  3. Although hearing the first crickets of summer always saddens me (because it's the first sign that summer will be ending) I do enjoy their song, especially when I exercise walk. This poem captured the cricket so well!

  4. This poem goes along well with the book I just finished reading yesterday, Nature Underfoot. The author is an entomologist and a former pesticide creator, but he has since taken classes in environmental ethics, and the result is this book. The author encourages us humans to see the value of insects out of simply looking for the value to us as humans, and, even more, he suggests we sacrifice some of our desire to keep our living spaces free of insects and other living things we dub pests for the greater good of the world.


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