Sunday, August 8, 2010

In Late Summer

After a few weeks of running behind the bus, I'm here on time with my ticket for scholar-poet-bus driver Jeanne Iris. Jeanne's given us three choices this week, and while this may bend the idea a bit, here's my attempt at meeting the challenge.

Visit Jeanne Iris at Revolutionary Revelry and hop on the bus. There's a great trip ahead!

Like everything else in late summer,
The strawberries have started to shrink on the stem,

Pulling back the skin so spiky little seeds
Stick out like flags announcing season's end.

The tomato vines have gone all spindly,
Sending leggy little chutes with fruit only the deer will eat.

Yesterday's abundance is today's remembrance.
And yet

The deep red berries resting in this bowl of cool cream
Taste sweet of summer sun,

And the coffee clinking in the icy glass
I lift this late summer morning

Moves me from these morose musings
As does the sight of that ragged butterfly there,

The one with the bottom of his wing half gone,
Lighting on those final purple flowers

Still sucking summer sweetness from the leavings
with his tongue.


  1. We try to recall summer sweetness all year, don't we? Enjoyed this.

  2. sad to know summer will be gone soon but your poem was a nice tribute. hope all is well. have a great day.

  3. Reading this, I was transported immediately to the scenes you describe with such brevity and power. I stayed there on your shoulder for the duration, tapped into your eyes and your heart. The rhythm of your language is wonderful. Without a rhyme, it is musical. And that final ragged butterfly is inspired and inspiring, closing the poem with a few final deft strokes, leaving an impression of the pulse of life rather than its ending. This poem is masterful and deserves to be shared. I know you don't pursue publication, but this one is worthy.

  4. A lovely bittersweet sensation!

  5. Rachel - We do, indeed! Thanks.

    dulce - I always dread summer's end, yet each season has its beauty and its draw.

    Naquillity - Thanks, dear friend!

    Chris - Glad to be able to lift you to someplace else for even a while. Actually, I'd love to publish, but I have no stomach for contests and am so insecure as a poet that I fear rejection would do me in! I know that's crazy, but I guess we all have our issues. :-) Thanks anyway for your very kind comment. I do love words!

    Argent - Thanks. I'm glad you think so.

  6. I got a picture last week of a butterfly with part of it’s wing gone (it’s posted on my Saturday picture a day post). Our hanging tomato vine is looking spindly – but still producing sweet grape tomatoes. I feel bittersweet at the end of summer. All that abundance is almost too much – time to pare down & nest again. But not just yet.

  7. hard to beleive it's that time already, but it is. and this is a wonderous moment in the middle of it - i love the imagery - shrinking berries, spindly vines - and the tattered butterfly is perfect. i also love "Yesterday's abundance is today's remembrance" - i can't think of a better way to look forward to fall.

  8. Lovely. Captures some of the abiding pleasures of summer.

  9. i am assuming you did not get the memo...Summer has been extended to February and Spring has been moved up two months.

  10. I can taste those strawberries. Yet I can also taste the regret for their almost absence.

    You've really cupped summer in your hands here, Karen. Like a butterfly who alights, brightens, and soon dances away. Thank you for sweetening my day. Reading your poem makes me want to go outside and suck those leavings while they still remain.

  11. The image of the butterfly is so perfect for what you're conveying--& mixes so well with the solidity of the glass & cup!

  12. It's so sad to see summer go. Though my tomatos are only just starting to redden and swell: Not done yet!
    Great poem.

  13. Karen, your words dance in my mind like the butterfly fluttering to that last blossom. We've had such a hot summer, yet new blossoms still unfold. I love this serene image of summer. Thank you!

  14. that ragged butterfly's a real heartbreaker...

  15. Oh, this is so lovely, Karen. It is filled with colourful and yet sad imagery. I can't bear for summer to end, this year especially has been so sublime, truly.

    I hope things are going well for you, your family and your Mother.


  16. Wonderful, Karen. I'm completely with EO on this one - its sound is wonderful, woven. Skilful, resonant writing - loved it.

  17. Bug - I like the perspective: time to pare down. I'll remind myself of that when I'm lamenting summer's end.

    joaquin - But not yet. :-(

    Dave - Thanks for that.

    TWM - I wish a memo could do it. I do love autumn, though...and winter, come to think of it. And spring. Hmmm...guess I'd better look forward to my tomorrows!

  18. Sarah Thank you. You are always way too kind. (and daggone it, you're poetic!) ;-)

    John - Thanks. It delivered itself to my poem at just the right moment.

    NanU - I have to remind myself that someone's summer is someone else's winter. That means it's always summer somewhere!

    Jeanne Iris - Thank you for driving the bus and letting my summertime musings hop aboard!

    Niamh - It does break mine!

    Calli - I'm happy it has been sublime for you! I hate to see it end, too.

    Unidentified Person - Thank you!

    Titus - Thank you so much!

  19. Wonderful poem, Karen! Like everyone else, I am struck by the image of the butterfly with the ragged wing. For me, it's a sweet and beautiful image, one that is full of hope. It has a torn wing, yet it still keeps surviving and doing what a butterfly does. And it keeps searching for the sweetness, even as it fades. That is such a joyful image and sentiment.

    I can really relate, too. I will relish the last bit of summer as long as I can. Like Huck Finn, I'm the last one to put on shoes in the fall:)

    I also love
    "The deep red berries resting in this bowl of cool cream
    Taste sweet of summer sun,".

    Awesome. Again, what is in front of the narrator is ripe, sweet, and full of joy.