Poetry Sunday: Mother, Summer, I by Philip Larkin

Like the poet Philip Larkin, I, too, am summer-born and I confess an affinity for the season. I don't even mind the heat and humidity so much - well, as long as there is air conditioning or a shade to retire to! Moreover, I rather enjoy the drama of summer thunderstorms. Indeed summer days seem to me to be "emblems of perfect happiness."

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 is firmly relegated to least favoured status in my life. Heat and humidity do not sit well with me and I am already yearning for the first frost - “an autumn more appropriate.”

  2. I enjoy thunderstorms, too! Maybe it's because I am also summer born. And while I don't love the heat as much now as I did when I was a kid, I do love the long, lazy days of summer. :D Great poem!

  3. I was born on the cusp of fall and winter, but spring is my favorite season. Having said that, I enjoy the lazier pace of summer and am sorry to see it go. I loved the imagery of the first stanza.

  4. Is it because I was born in November that I love the fall the most? Of course fall can be too cold for swimming, so there is often the loss of that wonderful experience. Funny that the poet finds summer a season he doesn't want to confront because it appears as an emblem of perfect happiness!


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