Alice O. Howell   


A pleasant English summer a life ago

A pleasant English summer a life ago --

a weaving of ovals green

above the riverflow

a dappling of those chips of blue

and gold below

all from a summerswifted evening glow --

a bending of the fluted waving grasses

where the carapaced slow beetle walks

lurching its scarabed angles

through the stalks

wrens in the dusty hedgerows

wagtails, linnets, buntings

darting soundlessly about a

somnolence of sheep

marking the leys of our longing now

to sleep --

oh, what were we waiting for

those summerhays ago

lying aneath the beeches

near the river's summerglow!

The old manse, the pilgrims' eaves

and bedding by the silvers of the starcut leaves

still life, life still

our faces framed by hands and leaning each to each

hushes, whispers, hushes on our tongues

as we let each other in

reaching for -- so simply, softly, softly --

the sweetness of each other's skin

what were our pleasures then

drowsing the lovelit night

waking to the scattered pealing

of a morning's feathered light!

marigolds and hollyhocks and

dew-drenched bending roses

flax, weld and foxglove

and the river moving time along

reflecting and collecting

all that lovely, lovely summersong

thinking now in winter

of our older saddened eyes

parted and yet joined

by grey and sodden city skies

I pluck insistence so

from that which summering in dreams

while ever singing deeper, deems

to bear us forth where heaven seems

still flashing in the endless rippling riverflow:

all love that time would let us know

  that pleasant English summer, only a life ago.