It is time to listen to the men again, my friends. Today we have poems written by Robin Kimber, our Old Egg, who blogs at Robin’s Nest, Julian Clarke, of Pen to Poetry, Guernsey, and Frank Tassone, of American Haijin. I was so happy to gather them together and offer them to you today to celebrate our love of poetry. Enjoy!
A Long Summer
It was a long summer
While sun smirked down on us
Like an errant uncle
Outstaying his welcome
We needed a shaman
To sing a song for us
We needed the dark clouds
To pour rain down on us
Oh sincere singer sing
Spirit the days to change
Muddy our paths for us
Flood the roads, we don’t care
We’ve lost our dignity
We’ve forgotten our pride
We lose much more each day
The raven shakes his head
It was a long summer
Clouds darken the night skies
We listen to the rain
Watching from the window
Now just who do we praise?
We had cursed and ranted
Thunder booms, lightning strikes
Someone is not happy
Sherry: I love the shaman, singing his song. As our summers grow hotter, year after year, we are all feeling this kind of heat and thirst, Robin. You have described it well.
Robin: The poem “A long summer” is quite typical of my poems about Australia, where the seasons are not always kind. When first settled, South Australia (the Australian state where I live) was the only British colony in the continent of Australia that was not settled with convicts from England being the main occupants. The colonists here decided to settle by a river, which is now the state capital of Adelaide, and spread out from there, farming first the plains to the north and hilly areas to the east and south.
At first farming was very successful, which encouraged more to come to the state and spread out much further north, and at first the harvests were fine. Then a few years of drought, and the soil now drained of nutrients, crops failed and settlers found they could not make a living anymore, went broke and abandoned the settlements. A government surveyor named Goyder visited the areas and worked out that many farms were too far north or in fact outside the 10 inch average rainfall line, which was the minimum agreed standard for cropping.
As farmers went broke and left their farms, they left the stone houses they had lived in, which now dot the countryside and are a photographer’s delight! The former settlements were, however, suitable for rearing stock. So grazing was adopted instead but not before many farmers went bankrupt and left the land, leaving evidence of this in the empty abandoned stone houses that still dot the scenery far north of Adelaide.
I was lucky enough to work 150 miles north of Adelaide many years ago, so had to drive through the area I have written about countless times, as well as exploring even more desolated settlements which are so poignant to see.
Sherry: It must be poignant indeed, seeing those abandoned homes – and dreams. This is such interesting history, Robin. Thank you for giving us the back story of this poem. Those must have been hard days for the settlers, in an unforgiving climate. I checked out the poems you mentioned, and they tell the story so well.
Julian recently posted a beautiful poem about a song carried on the wind. Let’s take a look.
I hear your song
Gone, gone: on the west wind I hear your song,
The breath of your soul sweeps through to my heart
As winter leaves danced and scattered, then settled,
Lay frozen, crystallised in pure white snow.
Your life had reasons laid out in a line
Many of them good ones bearing no lies.
Spring exudes beauty, only you compare
Like nature nurtures new life to the world,
And smiles, with sun flowers of summer;
Gone, gone: on the west wind I hear your song.
Sherry: So beautiful, “On the west wind, I hear your song.”
Julian: However you decide to interpret my poem, it is not one of sadness, but full of wonderful memories of an exceptional person. that person being my father who passed ten years ago. It amazes me how poetry can take you from feeling quite melancholy, which is how I felt before writing this poem, of which was not planned, and flowed easily from my pen, (that’s a rarity in itself). The end result left me feeling warm and in a far better place at the wonderful memories I hold dear.
Sherry: Golden memories indeed. It sounds like you had a remarkable father. Thank you for sharing this poem, Julian. I love it, especially the beauty of your closing line. Sigh.