End of Summer

A poem on Summer’s eclipse.

I take a glance
Without much time,
In my perception.
But what is time?
Changing daily like a Paris paper
Constant as a watering can
Nurturing the earth’s soil.
I think of You.
You keep the time—my timecard.
Clock in.

I look again, slowly, methodically,
To find
Sunbaked Mediterranean
Rows of tilled earth,
Scattered shovels and pales,
The work of spring and summer—
Digging, stirring, overturning,
Sowing, plowing,
Crops in barns.

Catalonian church frescoes point
A winding narrow path
Of dusty footprints
Leading me to chores
That must be done.
Under quiet cornflower blue
I trudge dependably as a mule
On the threshing floor
Every day
Beneath my feet.

Piles of leftover rubbish
Hide behind back corners
Curious creatures roam about,
Climbing up the ladders,
Surveying me watching You,
Inspecting every detail,
As I barely keep the pace
Of survival
On this farm.

“So much depends
a red wheel barrow”
Wrote William Carlos Williams.
How did he know this truth?
How did he choose those words
That would circle in my ear?
Had he talked with Joan Miró in 1922?
So much depended on
A place, a man, a certain time.

With ideals of endless summers
Now long gone
And ancient cycles taking root,
So much to do right here
In evanescent
Seasons of ingathering,
Not yet feasting.
But reservoirs
Within plain view
Speak of things to come.

The late summer sun changes
Into early fall,
Another year
One mid-September day.
You make me face my fears,
Like a glass house
Inside out and
Outside in,
You won’t allow
The lethargy or dread.

Summer only moments passed
I grasp vague hope half one year forward
Surpassing fall and winter.
The perching bird rests above.
I hear You ask,
Will you work with me?
To jauntily collaborate in this very moment?
Will you trust the seasons?
For sometimes
Fall is spring and winter becomes summer.

I acquiesce, as striving and self-pity dissipate.
I wait.
Soon autumn rains will come at their proper time,
Softening dry soil,
Preparing late seedbeds
Of desire realized, to grow a living tree.
I step out of the image, clocking out.
The surreal scene imprinted on my heart.


Image credit: Joan Miró, The Farm, 1921-1922, National Gallery of Art, Gift of Mary Hemingway

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