Saturday, February 11, 2017

Jack Scott writes


Each day
a thunderstorm forecast
and anxiously each day
we roved the sky by eye
praying for black sheep
among the normal flock of clouds.
Yesterdays back into June,
tempers, thoughts and skins
were seared  and scorched.

Although agnostic,
while wilting with them,
we prayed for our trees
and crops and lawns,
and fanned ourselves.
If there was to be relief,
solace from the heavens,
it would, of course, rain down,
so equally  of course,
we sent our prayers upward.

Surpassing expectation
of our own boiling point,
surprised at our endurance,
we lived, we lingered,
cooked and stewed,
growing more trepidatious
of imminent incineration.
Though it seemed a fuse was lit
each day, we did not explode.

Alcohol didn’t comfort;
we could not get drunk.
Without that aid
we could not indulge
our cooler fantasies.

Last night
the nightly thunderstorm
was once again predicted.
Once more it never came,
but this time sent a proxy.

The clouds became the shade
of churning bruises
stirred by an upper wind
not quite reaching us,
a cruelty of weather.

The night turned cool,
though not quite chilly.
Fans went off, blankets on.
Hot squabbles on retiring
turned into cuddling
before the dawn.

The day after, also cool,
July anomaly,
harbinger of fall?
The bones know
and my car
runs smoother,
and my mind.
If this were really fall
we might feel cheated,
shortchanged of our full year
despite our bitching
at its extremes.

No water yet,
but the steam is gone,
leaving merciful illusion:
the world seems cleaner,
though still dusty and unwashed.
Still, not the place
where we sweltered yesterday.

Though imperfect, this is better;
the sun's a rather different sun,
the sky a somewhat better sky.
I see the world afresh
with a slightly clearer eye,
am closer to the path I meant to take
before inferno
blistered time and hobbled me.

This day's detached
and all things in it,
respite on loan,
but not to keep
and also urging:
Let’s get on with it.

Reality was not slow
to come back to July.
No more cool nights
the entire month,
with every day a scorcher
and every evening’s
performance in the sky
dramatic with its distant
storm clouds threatening
with their signature effects:
thunder and lightning,
and the distant rain illusion,
giving us no more
than would vicarious
tantalization of a movie.

Personally, I took advice
that I gave myself
and recommend to others
if this July should ever happen to you:
lie perfectly, absolutely still
on something comfortable
and, even in the absence of a fan
or air conditioner,
think pure thoughts.
Don’t ask me what they are;
you’ll know them when they come to you.

It might seem the earth
if viewed from hell
would seem as much a heaven
as heaven seems to some of us from here.
(Not a pure thought.)

 Image result for summer july painting
 Summer. July -- Viktor Efimovich Popkov

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