The Longest Day

Michael and I visited “Bloomhenge” (the observatory at the west end of the Bloomingdale Trail) the morning of June 21.

Last night I wrote about my summer solstice melancholy and wondered if Susan Cooper had written a poem to mirror The Shortest Day, a piece I turn to with joy and hope every winter. A cursory online search did not turn anything up, so here’s some noodling, using her first line as a springboard. It’s a draft. . . I have all year to tighten it up!

“The Longest Day”

And so the Longest Day slipped by
No countdowns except 3, 2, 1
I hold my nose and jump
The lake still cold, winter’s loosening hold

Fireflies replace fires
My apple tree is full
A branch grazes the window
Today, I don’t mind the shade

The ice cream truck circles the block again
Children with bare feet and sticky cheeks implore
Just a little more time

The sun will rein
Tomorrow and tomorrow
Abundance does not want a ledger
Languor does not need an accountant

But the shadows keep score
And soon the cicadas will emerge and intone
like a Greek chorus
Summer does not last

I trust the ancestors
They traced the sun
Through fear and famine
White knuckled, cold
Hoping then rejoicing

They built monuments
to remember and remind
Summer may not last
but neither does winter.

Close up of a woman's face. Light complexion. Wet hair. Lake Michigan is behind her, calm and with a reflection of the sun,
A bike ride with friends and a quick dip were a great way to start the summer.

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