Last day of July, the end of the Terza Rima epic. Here is the whole thing. Surprisingly it does more or less hang together as a complete poem.
Heat crackles with shrill insect sounds, and birds
sing songs of sun and baking drought the day,
the night recedes, a tide of vacant words.
I asked the stars if only they would stay
when next the day awakes and fades the night
into the dawn, a paler shade of grey.
Reach the hope that shines out with the light
of each new day though hidden in the veil
of dewy mist that lingers after night.
Though clouds may boil and billow, charged with hail,
sweet birdsong fills the trees where river loud
relates to those who’ll listen, summer’s tale.
Storm beats about this house with heavy cloud,
rain lashes over newly shaven field,
with fierce hands wind lays hay stalks like a shroud.
But when the light of dawn makes night’s dark yield,
the thrush and blackbird flutter in the hedge,
green shadows damp with rain their leafy shield.
I listen, by the stream on this world’s edge
to all the secret life that burrows deep
or waits unmoving in the whisp’ring sedge.
I listen for the blood that never sleeps
but courses day and night where green things grow,
the fur and feather-clad that fly or creep.
Go out and walk when sun sinks in the west,
and listen to the song of homing birds,
their placid music eases hearts to rest.
With you there is so little need for words,
our eyes say all that ever need be said,
but do you see cold death in clouds like curds?
Their pale and gentle billows swell with dread,
where buzzards mewl and hang on moth-like wings,
below, the peaceful fields are strewn with dead.
This season, gold as butter, ripened brings
the harvester to reap and raze the stalks
where furred things burrow deep and skylark sings.
‘The world is made this way, for all our talk,’
you take my hand and pluck a wild dog rose,
‘beneath this hedge too, fox and weasel stalk.’
If life is taken so another grows
it seems to strike a balance in my eyes,
like sun in summer follows winter snows,
and white clouds billow after stormy skies.
But every little death is still a loss,
and we can join the mother when she cries.
You tell me, giving all a tragic gloss,
will never stop the tears, nor heal the grief,
and crushed rose petals in the stream you toss.
I look into your eyes and see belief,
that all you want for me is peace and joy,
for me, you would dare all, be sorrow’s thief.
These golden moments shine without alloy,
to treasure when time races, we grow old,
such sweetness on our tongues can never cloy.
So ends the summer day, evening grows cold,
the warmth of sunset doused in crisp night air,
we homeward turn with stories left untold.
Dog sniffs, unsettled, senses with his flair
the nightfolk moving through the swaying grass,
the nightfolk hunting, leaving den and lair.
We leave the night behind, so all things pass,
and light the lamps to drive away the dark,
furred hunters pad beyond the window glass.
The shadows soften angles, sounds the bark
of hunting fox and crickets’ ceaseless song,
so full of sounds, the silence, only hark.
Your breath, constant companion all night long,
the sound that fills my head and rocks my dreams,
beneath these stars, in this place I belong.
Though storm cloud billows dark and life’s cup seems
too brimming full to bear without a spill,
a simple geste a word, its pain redeems.
These summer sounds that weave around me will
ward off the gloom of winter dark and chill
birdsongs of golden days be with me still.
A brook, a wood, a golden field, a hill,
these places ring with such a happy sound,
the rippling stream a thrush’s summer trill.
I watch the dapples on this sun-specked ground,
that dance the rhythm of my summer heart,
rocked in your arms is where my joy is found.
Each moment an awakening, fresh start,
light patterns, puddles, different every day,
the voices of the birds, the swallows’ dart.
We watch the changing light, no need to say
this cup brims over, with contentment filled,
the oriole’s voice, fluting cares away.
Evening gilds the stubble where larks trilled,
Red sunset, moonrise pale, first star shines bright,
no breath of wind, the poplars’ dance is stilled.
Soft fades the world of day, declines to night,
the sky a graded palette, shades of blue,
and all is bathed in silver rays of light.
If this same sky arcs over my life through,
it will be because its peace I’ve shared with you.