Perhaps only a psychic could see how Twitter selects trends each day, but at present, you’ll find #PoemToWelcomeSummer among top items. The topic shows 1, 546 Tweets as I write this, compared with another trend, #ILikeIt, with 673,000 current Tweets. Maybe some Twitter controller just had a beam in his eye for childhood summers. The Twitterverse jumping on the summer poems chain gang favored forced rhymes and ditties. Poems included advice on sunscreen and laments about kids already bored now that school is out. All, however, is not lost.
I have to say I was never, as a kid, bored when school was out. When I was young, we spent almost all day in the yard with neighborhood kids, coming in only to eat or use the bathroom. I never knew a single bored kid in those days.
I do remember a poem I read often as a young child. It was one of my favorites by Robert Louis Stevenson, and the subject matter involved the lengthening of day and shortening of night. “Bed in Summer” has endured to entertain countless children since the late 1800s. I highly recommend the collection of Stevenson’s poems, A Child’s Garden of Verses. My own children loved it and my grandchild loves the poems I recite to her from that book.
There’s another poem, also selected from The Poetry Foundation site where I found Stevenson’s poem, titled “Wildflower.” Poet Stanley Plumly touched a chord with me as he meanders through “wildflowers on the table,” but it’s the enigmatic ending that makes that poem about a person stick in my head.
The Foundation offers a list of summer poems for your reading pleasure. I’m not wild about most of them, but then again, poetry relies on a subjective aesthetic when it comes to the reader.
Years ago, I penned a summer poem inspired by my daughters. We spent part of each summer at my brother’s beach place, and the girls loved to dig in the sand with their shovels and buckets. My younger daughter would always say she was cooking “Beach Soup.” That is how my contribution to summer poems came to be.
What struck me about the Twitter trend topic is that at a time when most poets don’t write in rhyme, people still seem to associate rhyme with poetry. The lame rhymes and ditties can be forgiven because they’re done in fun. At least the idea of poetry still resides in the hearts of many, despite academia’s contributions to the near death of a genre dating to antiquity.
(Kay B. Day/May 29, 2018)