In summer, nothing happens.
The girls one hungers to love
have taken jobs by the sea,
the friends one banters with
are hauling Airstream trailers
westward into the mountains.
The neighbors have left only
their frantic dogs—boys
no one has seen before
come to scour the kennels.
A stranger on a riding mower
does all the lawns together.

What is the change in summer
of which one expects nothing?
Nature is not reborn,
nor does she perish except
in the streaks of a rare elm
that has outlived itself.
The weather conceals nothing:
the months are temperate,
even in the hardest rains
one may walk without a coat.
The gardens flourish, and bear
without a gardener’s help.

Sitting in windows at night
black cats and their masters
look out on summer; the moon
feeds their yellow visions,
the opened windows cool them.
One learns to smoke a pipe
and is pleased for solitude.
One wants nothing to happen
forever, and thinks of those
who perhaps are ready to die,
except that it is summer
and they are putting it off.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 18 Number 4, on page 32
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