As we near mid July, today’s Thoughtful Thursday celebrates Summer. We do so with a variety of poems about summer from a variety of poets. We start with a classic from Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906), who “In Summer” waxes eloquently about a song for a summer’s day. Then we have a delightful ode to a “Firefly”, a familiar summer sight, by Jacqueline Woodson (b. 1963). We end with “Vacation” from former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove (b.1952).
Share these poems with your children (make it part of their summer reading!) and enjoy.
Oh, summer has clothed the earth
In a cloak from the loom of the sun!
And a mantle, too, of the skies ‘ soft blue
And a belt where the rivers run.
And now for the kiss of the wind,
And the touch of the air’s soft hands,
With the rest from strife and the heat of life,
With the freedom of lakes and lands.
I envy the farmer’s boy
Who sings as he follows the plow;
While the shining green of the young blades lean
To the breezes that cool his brow.
He sings to the dewy morn,
No thought of another’s ear;
But the song he sings is a chant for kings
And the whole wide world to hear.
He sings of the joys of life,
Of the pleasures of work and rest,
From an o’erfull heart, without aim or art;
‘T is a song of the merriest.
O ye who toil in the town,
And ye who moil in the mart,
Here the artless song, and your faith made strong
Shall renew your joy of heart.
Oh, poor were the worth of the world
If never a song were heard,
If the sting of grief had no relief
And never a heart were stirred.
So, long as the streams run down,
And as long as the robins trill,
Let us taunt old Care with a merry air,
And sing in the face of ill.
Paul Laurence Dunbar