July 31, 2011

Poem-A-Day: William Cullen Bryant, Midsummer

Academy of American Poets

July 31, 2011

Today's poem appears in Poems, published by University of Michigan.

Read more about this book.




Other Bryant Poems

  • A Song for New Year's Eve
  • The Gladness of Nature
  • The Planting of the Apple-Tree
  • To a Waterfowl

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    Midsummer
    by William Cullen Bryant

    A power is on the earth and in the air,
      From which the vital spirit shrinks afraid,
      And shelters him in nooks of deepest shade,
    From the hot steam and from the fiery glare.
    Look forth upon the earth—her thousand plants
      Are smitten; even the dark sun-loving maize
      Faints in the field beneath the torrid blaze;
    The herd beside the shaded fountain pants;
    For life is driven from all the landscape brown;
      The bird hath sought his tree, the snake his den,
      The trout floats dead in the hot stream, and men
    Drop by the sunstroke in the populous town:
      As if the Day of Fire had dawned, and sent
      Its deadly breath into the firmament.

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    Sacred Poem of the Week

     Winning the Race
     
    Run with all your passion
    Run with all your soul
    There is no choice but giving
    Lest time will take its toll
     
    It's all about the journey
    The hills that we must climb
    The little dips and valleys
    That make a life sublime
     
    You can't enjoy the mountain
    Without some scrapes and pain
    And you can't enjoy the sunshine
    Without the threat of rain
     
    But races all have endings
    Not all have finish lines
    The winning comes in knowing
    That all of you are fine
     
     
    All of the poems I have written have a story behind them.  Most are private so I don't include the details.  This one was about a fairly public lady that you may have seen on a variety of talk shows or maybe you read her book.  RuthAnn Lobo was known first as the mother of an Olympic gold medalist and later as a cancer survivor and supporter.  I on the other hand knew her as a teacher in high school.  She made a difference for hundreds of high school students before you made a difference to the world.  She will be missed by lots of people.
     


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    July 30, 2011

    Poem-A-Day: Amy Lowell, Summer

    Academy of American Poets

    July 30, 2011

    Today's poem appears in Selected Poems, published by Library of America.

    More from this author




    Other Lowell Poems

  • A London Thoroughfare. 2 A.M.
  • Astigmatism
  • Carrefour
  • Opal
  • Red Slippers

  • You can unsubscribe from our Poem-A-Day emails at at anytime—either completely, or until next April.

    Academy of American Poets
    75 Maiden Lane
    Suite 901
    New York, NY 10038
    212-274-0343
    academy@poets.org



    Summer
    by Amy Lowell

    Some men there are who find in nature all
    Their inspiration, hers the sympathy
    Which spurs them on to any great endeavor,
    To them the fields and woods are closest friends,
    And they hold dear communion with the hills;
    The voice of waters soothes them with its fall,
    And the great winds bring healing in their sound.
    To them a city is a prison house
    Where pent up human forces labour and strive,
    Where beauty dwells not, driven forth by man;
    But where in winter they must live until
    Summer gives back the spaces of the hills.
    To me it is not so. I love the earth
    And all the gifts of her so lavish hand:
    Sunshine and flowers, rivers and rushing winds,
    Thick branches swaying in a winter storm,
    And moonlight playing in a boat's wide wake;
    But more than these, and much, ah, how much more,
    I love the very human heart of man.
    Above me spreads the hot, blue mid-day sky,
    Far down the hillside lies the sleeping lake
    Lazily reflecting back the sun,
    And scarcely ruffled by the little breeze
    Which wanders idly through the nodding ferns.
    The blue crest of the distant mountain, tops
    The green crest of the hill on which I sit;
    And it is summer, glorious, deep-toned summer,
    The very crown of nature's changing year
    When all her surging life is at its full.
    To me alone it is a time of pause,
    A void and silent space between two worlds,
    When inspiration lags, and feeling sleeps,
    Gathering strength for efforts yet to come.
    For life alone is creator of life,
    And closest contact with the human world
    Is like a lantern shining in the night
    To light me to a knowledge of myself.
    I love the vivid life of winter months
    In constant intercourse with human minds,
    When every new experience is gain
    And on all sides we feel the great world's heart;
    The pulse and throb of life which makes us men!

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