This week’s Poem of the Week is by Local Writer of the Week Mary McElveen. We both know it’s out of season but Mary and I like it. So pretend it has been unseasonably warm lately and…got it? OK, here we go!
Yesterday the sunshined schoolbus
ceased its daily orbit round the neighborhood.
Yesterday we shrieked across the schoolyard,
books and teachers in our wake.
Freed from the solitary confinement of our desks
we wrote our names instead in jet trails
across the vast blue board of sky,
multiplied our hours by each blade of grass,
perfected the physics of skipping stones,
and measured the depth and flow of creek and pond.
From grassy beds, we studied pinprick stars
in the planetarium of night
and wrapped ourselves in lush damp air
that sparkled with fireflies and magic.
Yet here we stand in August, three months gone–
our barefoot mornings and lemonade afternoons,
the watermelon on the porch
and thorny blackberry expeditions
we linger in the twilight,
studying the sweet alchemy of a peach
while the juice of summer
trickles through our fingers.
I don’t want to go all English teacher on this poem, but I have rarely seen verses that so perfectly capture the childhood exuberance of the end of school using the vocabulary of the just past school-bound existence matched with the sweet images of the natural world that we were loosed into every June. The summer lay before us, seemingly infinite in its duration, and then it was the end of August, and, as Mary writes, we watched that last few precious days drain through our fingers. Bravo, Mary Mac!