Midsummer Song

[21 May 2019]

With this in mind,
Let us go forth,
Down familiar city streets, painted green
Against November skies, leading you to wonder
If time has really passed at all, if all unseen,
Unrevisited moments flow back to the same source?
The day flows on unremarkably, passing over rivers
And through the soot spray on the seventh street north
And the mist settles in under
The oak tree and the wrought iron fence.

There is yet time for opera hats.
There is yet time for this and that.

I’ve seen the span of our days –
Counted them twice; measured them against
The miscarriages of justices weighed out in buckram bags.
They press down, linger in doorways and alleyways,
Summon spectres and sleep among the incensed,
Overwhelming thought that time is not eternal.
Yet, somewhere, ponderous, treacherous, fenced
In between pent-up walls of the hands of the clock.
Drop a fear here carefully in my lap,
Look at it fondly and don’t mind the trap
Of wishing too much or missing too little or bidding too fond
A farewell.

Is there a word that is spoken for me?

This is no time for opera hats.
This is no time for this and that.

τὸ μὲν εὖ πράσσειν ἀκόρεστον ἔφυ
πᾶσι βροτοῖσιν. δακτυλοδείκτων δ᾽
οὔτις ἀπειπὼν εἴργει μελάθρων,
μηκέτ᾽ ἐσέλθῃς, τάδε φωνῶν. καὶ τῷδε πό λιν μὲν ἑλεῖν ἔδοσαν
μάκαρες Πριάμου.
θεοτίμητος δ᾽ οἴκαδ᾽ ἱκάνει.
νῦν δ᾽ εἰ προτέρων αἷμ᾽ ἀποτείσῃ
καὶ τοῖσι θανοῦσι θανὼν ἄλλων
ποινὰς θανάτων ἐπικράνῃ,
τίς ἂν ἐξεύξαιτο βροτῶν ἀσινεῖ
δαίμονι φῦναι τάδ᾽ ἀκούων;

Yet should I sleep so solemnly, so soon
Being the time between the jam and the tea?
The unravelled ligaments are being balled up
Into a monster that cannot move on its own
But sits complacently on the settee between the coffee cup and the wooden spoon.
You said to me,
As if I have nothing further to say to you.
I don’t press the point.
The veil is too thick
And the fog is too thick. I would have
Cut through the words with a knife,
Scooped it up with a slotted spoon and passed it
Off as a duchess.
Twice the fool for twice the folly,
But with less chiffon.

The tea cup rattles on the plate.
And cracks it under the heavy weight.

Churchyards and summersets sing out proud,
Saluting to ages gone by that never were,
Never lasted more than the measure of their scene.
I heard a song somewhere between the bar door and the bedroom floor.

I have been found in the strangest places since,
Riding on the sounds of the sea,
Drifting among the rocky shallows of the Sätraån,
Hiding in the scent of the boxwood,
Wafting from the cologne of the boy next door.
I am no Athena, nor am I Cassandra.
I wear my dress shirts untucked, my laces untied.
Apollo I was once, thought that was many years ago.
Yet you remain. Aloof, austere, closed eyes,
All that remains from the end of the day
Of the cream spoons and sea spools and whispering nights,
Sprinkled haphazardly among the coal-iron rooftops of Kensington side
And dashed triumphantly across Chesapeake Bay,
Dotting the landscape with I’s and Thou’s splattered
Snug deep into the fertile ground of that Midwestern soil
Where decency is born and dignity dies
Growing between the rosebush and the floor.

16 responses to “Midsummer Song”

  1. N.Z. Robotewske avatar

    Delightful read with some fun surprises! I do enjoy language translations. Thank you for sharing this 🙂

    1. Nathan AM Smith avatar

      Thank you thank you! I thought I’d do something a little out there 😉

      1. N.Z. Robotewske avatar

        Hey-if that’s out there—then we are both in good company! I like to do the same—and appreciate it when I see it. 😊

        1. Nathan AM Smith avatar

          It certainly does keep things interesting! 😀

  2. orkidedatter avatar

    Wow, I am totally captivated in your world of words…
    thank you🦋I hope you know you are very talented.
    Enjoy your day.

    1. Nathan AM Smith avatar

      Thank you!!! Your kind comments make my day!

      1. orkidedatter avatar

        My pleasure🦋promise me you enjoy your day.

        1. Nathan AM Smith avatar
  3. Elizabeth Baillie avatar

    Your poetry is beautiful, I love the flow of it. It’s nice to read someone’s poetry that is (rather like mine) less regardful of metre and focuses more on the feeling of the poem. I like the incorporation of multiple languages too–I’ll have keep that in mind! 😉

    1. Nathan AM Smith avatar

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Elizabeth! I do occasionally write in metre, but I really love more fluid pieces that evoke atmospheres by the sounds of the words and the progression of images. It can be a fun, immersive experience! I’m glad you enjoyed it – I enjoy your stuff as well!
      Thanks for stopping by! Hope to see you soon!

  4. rosejfairchild avatar

    Beautiful and unique. Nicely done!

    1. Nathan AM Smith avatar

      Thank you very much! And thank you for stopping by!

  5. MIRE avatar

    Wow. So many layers here, I think it would take endless reads to begin to unravel. I like the use of other languages, but which I knew how to read them! I like the way you cut your lines; they don’t feel awkward or cut and dried. People could study this. Well done!

    1. Nathan AM Smith avatar

      Thanks so much for your kind words! I had a lot of fun writing this piece and I’m glad you enjoyed it. Your site is quite inspiring as well. Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you soon!

      1. MIRE avatar

        Thank you as well! It means a lot to me to hear that!

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