willow tree summer

Sunday Poem | In Summer Time, by Paul Laurence Dunbar

This week’s Sunday Poem is “In Summer Time”, by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872 – 1906), one of the first African American poets who became known on a national level with his writings. “In Summer Time” beautifully depicts the slow nature of the summer days, in a very descriptive and contemplative manner, transcending the reader to a state of enjoyment and peacefulness.

Here we are, mid-July, mid-2020. I don’t even know where the first half of this year has gone, doing what, other than circling through a myriad of emotions, from the good, creative and curiously exploratory, to battling different kinds of demons and what-not. Still, finding bits and pieces of summer magic in all this general confusion we’re all going through, finding bits and pieces of nature, going about its own usual cycles, all this exudes a little light and hope over us.

I haven’t felt myself lately, probably because Mercury has gone retro’ yet again, so I needed some good ol’ poetry to take me somewhere magical, in a land where summer is the way we remember it.

Thus, in the search for a bit of day-dreaming-worthy piece, I’ve found this beautiful, picturesque and contemplative poem of Paul Laurence Dunbar, “In Summer Time”, that portrays the wonders of slowing down and observing nature during days of summer, while it sprinkles its magic upon all worries.

Just for the joy of being there / And drinking in the summer air, / The summer sounds, and summer sights, / That set a restless mind to rights”.

I hope you enjoy reading it and, most of all, remember – there’s always some sort of solace in nature and poetry, waiting for you to discover it.

In Summer Time, by Paul Laurence Dunbar

When summer time has come, and all
The world is in the magic thrall
Of perfumed airs that lull each sense
To fits of drowsy indolence;
When skies are deepest blue above,
And flow’rs aflush,—then most I love
To start, while early dews are damp,
And wend my way in woodland tramp
Where forests rustle, tree on tree,
And sing their silent songs to me;
Where pathways meet and pathways part,—
To walk with Nature heart by heart,
Till wearied out at last I lie
Where some sweet stream steals singing by
A mossy bank; where violets vie
In color with the summer sky,—
Or take my rod and line and hook,
And wander to some darkling brook,
Where all day long the willows dream,
And idly droop to kiss the stream,
And there to loll from morn till night—
Unheeding nibble, run, or bite—
Just for the joy of being there
And drinking in the summer air,
The summer sounds, and summer sights,
That set a restless mind to rights
When grief and pain and raging doubt
Of men and creeds have worn it out;
The birds’ song and the water’s drone,
The humming bee’s low monotone,
The murmur of the passing breeze,
And all the sounds akin to these,
That make a man in summer time
Feel only fit for rest and rhyme.
Joy springs all radiant in my breast;
Though pauper poor, than king more blest,
The tide beats in my soul so strong
That happiness breaks forth in song,
And rings aloud the welkin blue
With all the songs I ever knew.
O time of rapture! time of song!
How swiftly glide thy days along
Adown the current of the years,
Above the rocks of grief and tears!
‘Tis wealth enough of joy for me
In summer time to simply be.

1 comment
  1. This is absolutely enthralling and beautifully written. I will copy it in my own handwriting and share it with close and loved friends. I had forgotten the joy of moving poetry, the kind that touches my heart ❤️.

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