This seemed appropriate for a warm and very summer-like Memorial Day weekend. The calendar may stipulate late June for the official start of Summer, but to me Memorial Day weekend is the true gateway. Granted, we often have drizzly days barely edging into 60-degree territory, but this past week of very warm, sunny weather has uncharacteristically held through the holiday weekend, and made me very grateful. I sometimes wonder around the fourth month of miserable winter if the sun will ever return, if the trees will come back to life, and if grass will be green again. So I thought I’d share the following, as he seems to have captured that anxiety. 😉 The story here is English, but I think somewhat universal to those of us in the middle latitudes. 😀
“In Quest of Summer” ~ Horace G. Groser
So long the rain-clouds saddening lay
Across the blue of English skies,
So long in regions far away
Where snow-winds never rise,
And beauty never flies,
The spirit of the Summer made delay.
Then did I seek her where she kept
Sweet dalliance in her southern home,
Deeming perchance she idly slept,
And loth might be to roam
Across our windy foam,
Whither the herald birds had earlier crept.
But she whose sloth I came to chide
Ere this had ta’en her northward flight.
And by warm sands and waveless tide,
In havens crowned with light,
Where Moorish walls gleam white,
I traced the presence to my gaze denied.
Then back I turned; a thousand signs
Bespoke her passing, and I found
Her magic in the clambering vines
And poppy-sprinkled ground,
Where olive orchards bound
Green seas of wheat along the Apennines.
And northward still her footprints led
By fair Swiss valleys, glad with streams
From high eternal snow-drifts fed;
By fields and patient teams,
And grey lakes lulled in dreams,
And flowers aflame beneath the herd-boy’s tread.
I traced her to the Channel seas:
The waves had hushed their boisterous play,
Lest, lifted by the frolic breeze,
As she did take her way,
The chill and bitter spray
Should touch her feet and her sweet soul displease.
Our island coasts her glad return
In songs and shady boughs revealed,
Yet could I in no place discern,
By forest or by field,
Where she might lie concealed,
Though bloomed the foxglove spire and arched the fern.
Then home I drew, where lonely rose
My cottage roof of ancient red;
Through the dusk elms the soft repose
Of eventide was shed,
And round the doorway spread
Cool scents that steal abroad at daylight’s close.
And where the honeysuckle trails
Had merged in one sweet boundary line
The untrimmed hedge and bordering pales,
I saw her face divine,
As she did there recline,
The night moths round her and the sighing gales.
For ’tis not they who still would trace
From clime to clime her passing feet,
But they who in their native place
Patient through cloud and sleet
Her herald sunbeams greet,
Chastened by hope deferred, shall see her face.