Summer

Summer's impressive lie. Philip Larkin


Even in England we get dreamy dayfuls of it:

I think of summer dresses and the women inside them,

of sand-coloured children playing with water

and friends on a lawn sipping teas

of different flavours [a bird sings offstage].

Floppy hats from Spain are disinterred,

pens and books warm up in the sun's grip,

sitting on chairs because of ants, keeping an eye on bees...

So treacherous this cliché, this idyll that does not last,

for some jealous rain will come to spoil,

yelling: rise, you languid lumps, get back to work,

wasting your sweat in holiday!


So bring me days that do not mock with bogus paradise:

fetch me wind that scuds clouds with proper speed,

racing weather across a panoramic sky, flashing,

as if with flipped switch, a suddenly brightened earth

to tantalize and break the torpid trance,

and potent gusts make dark leaves creak in exercise

as hats fly off and dresses blow off and children

stumble into fresh shallow water

and friends are nowhere to be seen it is too

rowdy and the books and pens just up and scoot away

and I just up and follow on this ridiculously

honest day.


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