The summers I remember

For the dverse prompt. Hoping this new editor is going to behave itself. And will it keep the formatting? I should make a book… Fifth try. Sixth.


I remember when we could enjoy the heat

and savoured cool beneath the trees,

the running stream.

I remember when the blackbird sang

all summer long a summer song,

and we lazed, pink-skinned

beneath the hedge where berries hung,


~but that was before~


the rains came rare and late

or early and too hard too much,

and now the trees hang dying heads,

and rattle dry-leafed branches

where no bird sings, throats too parched,

no strength to waste in beauty,

and we wonder what the spring will bring.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

60 thoughts on “The summers I remember”

  1. Very sad and poignant. I find it beautiful in what it describes in such changes being permanent, and old ways are lost to time. The first few lines were evocative to me, taking me back to my childhood where late spring felt like that. Such a stunning and visceral write. I enjoyed reading it greatly.

    1. Thank you, Lucy. I look at the trees and think they are older than I am, they remember what it was like to have water and rain, and they are suffering now. It’s sad to watch and feel helpless to do anything about it.

  2. So much lost, and who knows what is coming? Like Ken said, your bridge works very well. I got one up with the new editor, but I couldn’t tell you how I did it. 😀

      1. I used Classic block, but I didn’t go through WP administrator. There were a list of blocks, so I just choose Classic and pasted my poem in. But then I had to find the space inserter and other things. I just clicking on things. 🤣

      2. No, I stopped going through admin just to take a trip back in time.
        I didn’t realise there was a space inserter. I just kept going back and putting in the spaces the editor kept taking out until it got bored, I suppose 🙂

    1. Thanks Ron. If all the people who claim to love nature actually looked at the trees, they’d see they are suffering. But the sugar beet needs irrigating first, doesn’t it?

  3. Such poignant words. The use of “~but that was before~” was the perfect link.

    I too share in the wish for the old editor, this new WP is horrible.

  4. I like the use of the bridge – over the running stream, beyond the hedge where berries hung to the devastation of climate change weather. It’s so sad to see trees hanging dying heads and rattling dry-leafed branches. What next?

    1. There are whole rivers completely dry because the water is siphoned off for crops, many of which are useless (sugar beet) or to use for animal feed (maize) almost equally useless. We’re going to have to change our crop choices radically. If it won’t grow without masses of water, we shouldn’t be trying!

  5. Your two parts really show the uncertainty there is now over the weather and it is true there can be much less water in some parts and too much in others. I followed a talk on this new block editor and thought it might be difficult for poems and spacing. Your poem and link line look good spatially on my iPad. Can be so different on phone.

    1. Everything is uncertain except that if we don’t change our ways, we’re facing catastrophe.
      It took six attempts to get the formatting to ‘stick’. It disappears for no apparent reason. I don’t know what the new editor is good for. It doesn’t have a way to add images that I’ve found. That’s why I used the ‘classic’ block. Seems to be the only way of adding images.

      1. Oh dear, and I use lots of photos for different types of posts. I will try on a computer first because always have problems on the app. Yes, we need to vote in the right kind of politics to act on climate change and nature restoration. The Spanish government had good plans but think the virus may have thrown this and there is so much criticism now.

      2. All those people who we heard saying how much they preferred the new slower rhythm of life, hearing the birds instead of traffic, fewer people about, cleaner air etc are now being shouted at for wanting to destroy the economy. Somebody needs to take things in hand.

      3. Yes, it needs serious thought and planning so changes can be made effectively so people and aspects of the economy do not suffer a shock. Or we will all suffer in the future.

      4. I suppose we need to shift working populations into different types of jobs gradually, giving school and university leavers different options but gradually means starting now, not when we’re already in a nose dive.

  6. Your comparison describes our time. Seems like the weather like everything else in in a state of flux! Continually changing. Maybe back then we did not think of things like Global Warming!?

    1. I have the free site too, and the new editor doesn’t come with a user handbook. It doesn’t seem to do anything that’s of any use to me. Why they think this block idea is a great one I’lll never understand.

  7. This is so fitting for the times which we are living through. My friend found a lake full of dead fish the other day as they’d been starved of oxygen due to excessive heat. It seems apocalyptic, but I hope it isn’t. I especially loved the lines: and rattle dry-leafed branches/where no bird sings, throats too parched which recalled La Belle Dame sans Merci to me. Excellent work.

    1. Thank you for the compliment! I see what you mean about the word choice.
      The nuclear power stations here are routinely closed down in the summer these last dozen years or so because the river water they use to cool the reactors is already too warm. Any warmer and the life in the rivers will die. It’s partly because agricuture pumps off the smaller watercourses and the main river levels drop dangerously low, shallow and warm. I can’t see it changing unless we change our agricultural practices. If a crop requires masses of water, you just can’t grow it in the south, period.

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