Ode to End of Summer
by Wally Swist
Sunlight flickers over the lushness of August,
fills even the slender inflorescence
of stalks of timothy, as a flock
of cedar waxwings flies in and out of the hedge
of honeysuckle. Luxuriant halcyon weather
will give way to the flurry and the early chill
of September busyness not dissimilar to the way
the windy poplar lets go of its leaves in such
a burst and with such flare; and letting go
is what we need to do. What a delight to have
leftover morsels of lobster marinating in butter
from last night’s dinner, that I serve over
four toast points, spread with mayonnaise
and paprika; accompanied with a salad
of garden fresh tomatoes, snow peas,
shredded carrot, and sweet onion in olive oil
and balsamic, tossed with julienned basil leaves,
cracked black pepper, and Kosher salt.
I finish the plate with a garnish of two grape
leaves stuffed with spearmint and rice.
To celebrate the relinquishing of summer
only makes room for more appreciation
of what was savored and the harvest to come.
To ready ourselves for the harvest we offer
our gratitude to every bite of shellfish and
the medley of vegetables that
they will nourish us and might place us in
balance with the windy poplar releasing
its flurry of leaves and what may be nature’s
harmonic asymmetry, igniting us into verb.
|Wally Swist’s books include Huang Po and the Dimensions of Love (Southern Illinois University Press, 2012) and The Daodejing of Laozi, with David Breeden and Steven Schroeder (Lamar University Press, 2014). His new poems appear in Commonweal and North American Review. Garrison Keillor recently read his poem “Radiance” on the daily radio program The Writer’s Almanac.|