Thursday, June 11, 2009

Swinging Summer Street

Spinning, spinning,

the pavement tilts and settles,

tilts again; music drums a beat, colors

whirling faster and faster to the thrum

thrum in our ears, our veins, our feet

on the hot Kentucky street.

Strings of summer rise with heat

as we turn, turn, heads back,

eyes sliding sideways, hair whipping cheeks,

mouths stretching wider and wider

until only the sound and the color

and the beat of the music course

in our ears, our veins, our feet

on this swinging summer street.


  1. Fun and exhilerating! Summer dancing! Love the pic, with the dove in the center and all the dancers around. Are Nate and Lexie your grandchildren? Loved the mouths stretching wider and wider, which is what mine did when I was reading this.

  2. What flasbacks of young summer days when I lived in New York City - summer dancing of this cheer would take place around the sprinklers in pocket parks along Riverside Drive - and on hot summer days around the open "Johnny-Pumps".. you capture all this delight - a smile for those yesteryears and smiles of pleasure for the dance I dance on your Swinging Summer Street.

  3. A return visit: Karen, I enjoyed my place in your circle of dancers. When stepping away from the refreshing freedom of such an exuberant dance, the lines posted on your profile beckoned, "defined by my relationships, but ultimately unknown to any of them." In that moment I thought, Ah, Karen is becoming more and more known to Karen... APPLAUSE!!

  4. so much fun, thx karen...

    reminds me of the carabana festival every summer in toronto :)

  5. I love this Picasso...

    What an energizing verse! One can actually tap to the beat of the lines. Love the inclusion of Nate and Lexie. That makes it all the more special! This reminds me of the Street Carnivals we used to have in Pratt in the summers - so much of innocence was nurtured there. I remember winning Miss Molly Oliver's Coca Cola Cake in the Cakewalk!

    Fav lines:
    "...Strings of summer rise with heat..."

    "...until only the sound and the color
    and the beat of the music course
    in our ears, our veins, our feet
    on this swinging summer street."

    Impressive, as always!

  6. Love it, love it, love it! I love the hot Kentucky street! Dang, this makes me feel so good. What is so cool about the setting is that it could be city or country or suburb. Or any place in between. It sure takes me back. It also makes me think of the hot steams we have on the road. They are columns of steam rising. For us, they are spirits:)

    The rhythm is fantastic. Again, you make me want to dance, and I love it. I love the colors and the hair whipping cheeks. The action of the poem is fantastic. It wisks me right along with the dancers.

    Take a bow, Karen! Once again, we clap loudly! Excellent poem, my friend.

  7. Cat - I'm glad it made you smile! Yes, it was inspired by my grandson and his little friend, who at age three, danced with abandon at a street dance in Lexington. What amazes me, and reminds me that we are, after all, primitive beings all grown up, is no one had to tell these babies to dance. They could not help themselves when they heard the music! They HAD to do it.

    Rose Marie - I am so glad to have reminded you of your childhood! If a poem can transport the reader to another time and place, it has succeeded, in my mind. Thank you for telling me that it did! (...and thanks for the comment on the sidebar message...indeed, my writing is causing me to "congeal"...)

    laughingwolf - Thank you for being here. I hope you danced!!

    Kaye - Miss Molly Oliver's Coca Cola Cake! That was a different world. Do you know we still have cake walks at our school carnivals? Small town life -- in some ways, it doesn't change. We still have our "Miss Molly Olivers," too!

    I'm glad you were toe tapping to this, you the dancer extraordinaire! :-D

    By the way, you should have seen Nate! That boy can dance!

    Julie - After your comment about the setting, I realized that this could have been the country roads of my youth -- you know, once we got the hard road! So pleased to take you back there, too.

    I really appreciate your comments on the rhythm and details. Everything about the writing of this was fun for me. I'm glad you enjoyed it, too!

    Thank you!

  8. I have to echo all me predecessors in saluting you on this one, Karen. The "vibe" is palpable.

    Julie is right in saying that it could be anywhere. For me, it was kids dancing on a suburban street - goofing around while playing Tag.

    Fantastic! (Who are Nate and Lexie?)


  9. Ah, that was "me" Irish slippin' in there, to be sure.


  10. It had such a lovely rhythm to it. I was singing it aloud all the way. :)

    The pic is just perfect to set the mood too. :P

    I badly needed this.

  11. The Poem As A Spell

    An incantation
    to implant your Kentucky
    into us from street
    to summer hot street
    worked by spinning and turning
    and the thrumming beat,
    a younger magic
    than is Kentucky
    itself, once land of shamans
    older than we will
    ever be,

  12. thx karen, when do wuffs not dance? ;) lol

  13. This is a lovely evocation of summer exuberance-- & the Picasso illustration is perfect-- so much motion & so colorful, just as the poem is energetic.

  14. Kat - LOL at the Irish! Nate is my grandson and Lexie is his little friend. They rocked out at "Dancing on the Main" in Lexington last weekend. Nobody had to teach these little ones to dance -- it was completely natural to them. I hoped the poem would be applicable to others, so I purposely made it "ageless." Thanks for being such a good writing friend.

    Ani - I hope you dance all weekend!

    Rachel - I'm ready! Your street or mine?

    {{Christopher}} - I love the idea of poetry as spell!

    lw - I'm howling with laughter! Oh, sorry. Couldn't resist! :D

    John - I love the Picasso,too, and even the name works for this one. Thanks.

  15. This poem left me out of breath Karen!

    It's so full of life and the trills of being free to dance to your heart's content.

    Just wonderful....

  16. Thanks, Margaret! Summer abandon!!!

  17. We have a week long music festival here where I live -- free to the public, held on the town green. It is the most magical part of the summer. There are so many children dancing and playing. Your poem captures the mood so perfectly. On the final night, the main street is closed off for a Street Dance. Oh, your title says it all..."Swinging Summer Street" ! :) Love it!

  18. Ah Karen
    Absolutely vibrant and moving. I can literally feel the street beat reading it. You are a talented gal. Love the Swinging Summer Street

  19. Faith - Just the terms "town green" evoke pictures of the summer merriment you describe. I can see that magical night and the children dancing...

    Linda - Your street dances have that southern flair, don't they? Quite a different picture from those Faith describe, but the same spirit, same mood, same merriment! Thanks, Linda.

  20. Karen, you have put me in the mood for summer! And how I wish it weren't raining in Boston today...

    I love the inspiration for this--Someday I hope Nate and Lexie read it! :)

  21. The metre and rhyming were perfect!! This one was a perfectly crafted piece of art. :)

  22. Jennifer - So nice to see you back here!

    Sorry about the rain. We've had too much for my liking, but nothing beats a storm for cozying up with a good book, so maybe it'll be our summer of reading. I can think of worse fates.

    Nate's mother, my youngest daughter and one of my favorite people in the world, has read it. Maybe some day, he and Lexie will. (That is if the boy can stop dancing. You should see him! My smile stretches wider and wider just to think of it!)

    Thanks for coming back. I miss you.

    Jason - Much thanks.

  23. The rhythm and structure were well judged. The response says it all. Well done.

  24. Thanks, Ghost! Always something new for me when you've been here.

  25. on this swinging summer street

    Excellent poem! Exhilarating!

  26. Dave - I'm glad you liked it. Thank you. I'm headed to your territory, and hope to view some of your recent recommendations.

    Vesper - Thank you, and thanks for continuing to visit here.