There is nothing better than reading when the nights are long and it is warm outside. You might have a perfect bench in your garden, or maybe you live near water and can settle down on a riverbank or by the sea. But often we find ourselves short on time – and maybe we don’t have enough time to start a new novel. So, if this sounds like you, may I suggest poetry? A poem can take you somewhere special in very few words. Here are some of my favourites:
This is beautifully reminiscent about a place – Adlestrop – and more specifically, about stopping at the station there on a train journey in June. It is very obviously English with its ‘willows… and grass…’ and ‘… high cloudlets in the sky.’ Here, Thomas is showing readers how a quiet piece of English countryside can be captured, even if is far from your own reality.
In Updike’s four quatrains, he shows readers what summer really is – well, in an ideal world, anyway. He states, ‘The sun is rich…’ and that we have:
… long green weeks
That never end. School’s out.
The time is ours to spend.
This, I feel, is just perfect – it captures that time at the start of the holidays when there seems to be endless time before the new school year starts (but doesn’t that time go by so fast?).
Heaney paints a picture of summer linked to childhood memories – but in many ways, his view of this season is more oppressive, more negative – and perhaps more realistic. He writes about the ‘… punishing sun’ and how the frogs were ‘… gross bellied…’ with ‘… their loose necks pulsed like sails.’ The poet is showing how even when we have fond memories of something, it can also be filled with things that are unpleasant.
Have a think about your favourite summer poems. There are so many to choose from. And don’t forget – treating yourself to a poem or two is a great way of whiling away a warm summer’s evening. Happy reading!