Sunday, July 27, 2014

DOG DAYS OF SUMMER

Ms Jasmine, praying for a breeze,
in my old front yard. Pup lurks behind the bush,
which is now quite huge and lush.
Jas is nine today. Those nine years went fast.
***

The grass, crisp and brown, dreams of rain.
Trees, bees, birds, frogs, wait,
suspended in a miasma of wavery, hot, 
swooning parched-ness.
Dogs lie upside-down,
hoping for a stray breeze,
but the air is unmoving, unmotivated,
has taken up residence in the hammock
and cannot be budged.

The day is loathe to quicken; 
the hands on the clock
tick desultorily; minutes later, 
you hear a faint, fatigued tock.

Everything that lives is exhausted
and hiding in whatever shade it can find.
I actually saw someone fry an egg 
on a sidewalk once.
He didn't eat it.

Once, when I was five, we traveled 
down the coast  to San Francisco.
Stopped for ice cream at a wayside store 
and I was mortified because my parents 
had stripped me to my underpants for coolness 
and made me go inside the store that way.
Even ice cream was not worth the shame.

We drove a short ways till people passed us,
shouting and pointing:
"your car is on fire!"
and we all got out. 
Dad poured the iced lemonade on it
to douse the flames.

When we hit the city, dad was flummoxed 
by the rushing eight lane traffic, 
zooming in every possible direction.
Opening the map, stopped at an off-ramp, 
stressed, impeding traffic,
he was chagrined when someone shouted
"why dont you build a garage around it?"
He never got over that.

Dog days of summer. 
Early mornings smelling
just as they did in childhood.
I remember the smell 
of Grandma's canvas hammock,
and how I'd curl up in it and read and read,
the smell and feel of bathing suits,
plucked, still-damp,
off the line,
for the next swim.

I remember
the time I swam during a thunderstorm,
the sky gunmetal gray,
the waves all mine,
lake-scent and willow-whisper
engraved on my heart.

for Victoria's prompt at dVerse : the dog days of summer.

22 comments:

  1. Reading these words of nature true..i cannot help..but to share a sit aside a field of 35 acres of peanut field..in extended family company..the breeze blows through the cricket song..and a fire is soon to come to spread some ashes bright like fireflies..to play with me..i love nature..but as far away from city i can be..the beauty only grows..:)

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  2. Beautiful Sherry! I have so many memories of summer as a child, my favorite season, just wish it were a bit longer.

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  3. We have had a heat spell - close to 100 and humid - but a cool front tonight and more moderate temps this week - the dogs made me laugh and your poor dad! Sherry, loved the smells of summer you visited in this poem - wonderful for the dog days of summer! K

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  4. I enjoyed every word of this, Sherry. I have felt those days of baking heat when not a whisper of a breeze could be felt. Loved how you went into a narrative of your drive down to San Francisco...some things you never got over either... I never liked to put my bathing suit on when it was still wet...but I did anyway.

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  5. I enjoyed this so much, Sherry...so many memories to relate to. I used to be a home care nurse in SF and drove all over with a Thomas Guide on my lap. I can relate to your dad. And the dogs--oh yes! I hope you have a moment to stop by my blog tomorrow (Monday) where my dogs will be visiting...all of them, past and present.

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  6. Lovely, Sherry. A perfect capture of the steamy, lazy, hazy days of summer.

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  7. this poem is magical...absolutely..

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  8. Ha, Sherry. I enjoyed reading your memories here. But even though it was not funny at the time, I am sure, I laughed aloud at the comment someone made to your dad as the car stood on the off ramp impeding traffic. Kind of reminds me of the time in my childhood when my dad and I went horseback riding in a resort town fairly nearby. The guide led my horse, but my dad said he could ride. Ha! I still remember the look on his face as he and his horse were in the middle of the street in the downtown area, and he could not get the horse to move. There he and horse were...and traffic was stopped in all directions. This was the last time we ever went 'horseback riding.'

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  9. "the air is unmoving, unmotivated,
    has taken up residence in the hammock
    and cannot be budged."
    And then the dogs, the dad, the child in the hammock. You have captured dog days quite well and made them moving and filled with strife and laughter. For this, we can endure them a few more days each year.

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  10. it's fascinating how we remember smells and connect them to our memories and how they take us right back into that very moment... i totally can understand that the 8 lane traffic freaked your dad out... i found it terrifying when i was in L.A.

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  11. Beautiful the way you built this string of memories - taking me with you through the heat, the wet, the embarrassment, the love, the ache for your family, the joy of your pets. Thank you.

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  12. To swim in thunderstorms, the heat, the listlessness and those memories of traffic in the heat.. So much to love here.

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  13. I could imagine my dad putting out a fire with lemonade. LOL
    Vancouver, BC, and Seattle, Wash., were the largest cities my father ever ventured to drive in. My brother used to count TV antennas (before we had TV in Kelowna) and the number of storeys in tall buildings (we didn't have anything taller than the Royal Anne, remember?)
    Luv, K

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  14. mmm i love being in the hammock...i read many a book there....ha on using the lemonade to put out the fire....oy, big city traffic can be overwhelming...i spent a day in NYC on vacation...and as much as i love the city...i would not want to drive there...every day....

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  15. Lovely summer ponderings - and those canvas hammocks . . . sigh.

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  16. Just beautiful . Vivid, thoughtful, interesting. K.

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  17. i float on your words and memories.

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  18. Oh, the engravings on your heart....many you have are just like mine....your words remind me of summer, rock cabins near the river, floating on an inner tube, and daddy-long-leg spiders in the bathroom....the little girl was afraid of those spiders...in the mist of it all, giggles!

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  19. Reading your summer memories makes me remember so many of mine. Thanks for the reminder :)

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  20. fantastic final verse to a compelling write, Sherry. had me there the whole pen ~

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  21. Happy belated birthday to Miss Jas!

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I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!