Summer Idyll

yellow-headed blackbird

 

O, enchanted hour beneath the willow tree

on grassy banks beside a wandering stream

where yellow-headed blackbird calls atop a reed–

 

who ordained this tranquil hour of

cooling breeze, largesse unwitnessed

but for iridescent dragonfly?

 

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Remembering Maud Lovisa Fuhriman

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What would great grandma

think if she could see me

sitting on my throne in

my climate-controlled house–

she who took the kids

out to the “shade” of the haystack

on hot summer afternoons?

 

I imagine her with her hair

pulled back in a tight bun,

sweat dripping down

the neck of her long-sleeved dress.

Mopping her head, she checks the bread

in the oven of the old wood stove.

Then she washes beets from the garden

and peels potatoes for dinner.

Heat and dust and flies are ever-present

on this homestead in the Idaho desert,

where she carries water in a bucket

to her seedling trees and pays her

son a penny for every hundred flies he kills.

 

Could she even imagine

eating fresh grapes and

watermelon and raspberries

grown by other people?

Would she be enthralled or appalled

by a life where you never

have to milk the cow

or churn the butter

or gather the eggs–

where there is no fire to start,

no wood to chop,

no chickens to feed?

Drunk on Spring Air

Cauldron LinnI take an intoxicating gulp

of air as I step out the door.

Delirious with joy,

I sense a slight hint of warmth,

the barest scent of growing things.

 I breathe in

and in

and in . . .

like someone who has been

suffocating,

I just can’t get enough

of the balmy feel

in my lungs

and the heady whiff

of summer coming on.

At Lake Owyhee

Leslie_Gulch_reservoir _reflections

Photo by Eric Valentine of Praise Photography
http://www.praisephotography.com

Dense suffocating heat

extracts my soul –

I gasp.

Hot Wind Blowing Over Lake Powell

We lay in our bunks,
lined up and layered
like bananas
in a fruit dryer.

Outside,
insects hummed
and waves broke
against the hull.

Inside,
my body was still
as a corpse
while the sirocco
breathed hellfire
into my skull
and vaporized
my blood and sweat.

(Special thanks to Reid Stott for letting me use his photo “Storm over Lake Powell.” His photo site is http://photodude.com)

Nascent Spring

The hills still wear their faded Army drabs.
Used motor oil oozes where the Snake River should be.
Naked trees stand exposed beneath a blue-less sky.
Dusty, dirty leaves lie crumpled,
cluttering the banks of a small stream,
and someone certainly must have sprayed
the shrinking snowbanks with leftover watercolor water.

But like a fetus gestating in its mother’s womb
tiny water cress plants grow in a trickle of runoff
and baby ferns peek from beneath
the brittle brownness of last year’s reeds,
heralding the imminent greenness that
will sprout from every tree and spring
from every hill until the whole world
is swollen with summer.

July Heat Wave

By Judy Grigg Hansen

the sun
toasts the grass a crispy brown around the edges
sidewalks
radiate stored-up heat through the soles of shoes
air conditioners
belch overheated air like old-fashioned stoves
baking asphalt
softens and oozes, sticking to shoes and tires
and the air smells like dragon breath.

Summer Is For Nine-year-olds

                       9
By Judy Grigg Hansen

stray change in the sofa bed
hawking lukewarm lemonade
6 x 8 is 48
secret hideaways
no TV till after 3
7 x 9 is 63
roly poly roundup
rocks in a Nike box
no bears are out tonight
7 x 7 is 49