Friday, August 29, 2008

Today's poem - Mother, Summer, I by Philip Larkin

Mother, Summer, I
by Philip Larkin (1922-1985)

My mother, who hates thunderstorms,
Holds up each summer day and shakes
It out suspiciously, lest swarms
Of grape-dark clouds are lurking there;
But when August weather breaks
And rains begin, and brittle frost
Sharpens the bird-abandoned air,
Her worried summer look is lost.

And I her son, though summer-born
And summer-loving, none the less
Am easier when the leaves are gone;
Too often summer days appear
Emblems of perfect happiness
I can't confront: I must await
A time less bold, less rich, less clear:
An autumn more appropriate.

I post this poem today in honor of my mother's birthday. She, too, hated thunderstorms, and I had to sit on the couch with my feet off the floor when one was brewing.

And like the author, I'm "easier when the leaves are gone." I'm more comfortable when the weather isn't so boisterous.


  1. And I love thunderstorms! As a child I loved the rain, hurricanes, and the brilliant light show that accompanies summer storms. Beautiful poem anyway, and I guess it takes all kindsa people to make a world!

  2. Nan, when my home was filled with family, thunderstorms did not bother me. Hardly paid any attention to them. The years I have been by myself I find the storms and lightning make me uncomfortable. Beautiful poem posted to honor your mother.

  3. Lovely poem!
    I’ve always enjoyed thunderstorms – I remember sitting on our balcony at the island watching the most spectacular lightening over the Baltic.

  4. Beautiful! poem and photo, a lovely tribute on your Mom's birthday.

  5. Oh wow this is a good one.
    I too and my son, 25 love fall and when the leaves are gone.
    This is very special.
    Thanks again for sharing.

  6. I have a horror of thunderstorms and I know exactly why. My granny was terrified of them so would make me sit with her on the stairs and sing hymns! The front and back doors would be open - to allow lightning to go straight through, I think - and the cold taps would be running - to put out any lightning-induced fires, I presume!
    Years later I heard of people covering up mirrors and feel that Granny missed a trick!

    To make sure my own children didn't inherit my fear I would leap up at the first sign of thunder and brightly announce that we'd do some cooking. I'm sure that even now they must have a kind of Pavlovian response and feel they should be making pastry whenever it thunders!

  7. Such a lovely poem. And a very nice tribute to your mother. I don't mind thunderstorms, which is just as well because they happen a lot here. I will say that I almost dropped a big stack of books the other day when a very, very loud clap of thunder disturbed the library. One woman on the public computers let out a little scream. :-)

  8. I love a thunderstorm. How nice to use this poem as a tribute to your mother. My father died at 59 and I miss him. It is always great to remember them isn't it.

    Hugs ~

  9. Me again! I love your header photo!!!

    Hugs ~

  10. We had a boomer at 4 a.m. last week. How some people can sleep through such racket, I'll never understand. But I loved it. Thanks for posting this poem!

  11. I want to thank you all for your comments. I'm quite sure this poem has gotten the most comments of any I've ever posted! I so enjoyed your remembrances of, and feelings about thunderstorms. I'm not as fearful as my mother, but I'm still a bit scared. Sometimes lightening hits close by out here, and I jump a mile. :<)

  12. Lovely tribute and a wonderful photo of your mom. You have her sparkling eyes!

    I'm not as afraid of thunderstorms as I used to be, but they still make me a bit nervous, especially in the middle of the night. We get some loud ones!

  13. I love thunderstorms. Kiddo is not a big fan, but I find them relaxing and refreshing. As a child, my sister and I would sit in the back room (it had cathedral ceilings and windows covering one huge wall) and watch the trees bending in the wind and the lightning streaking across the sky. Now I love laying in bed and listening to it all.

    And happy birthday to your mom - I hope you had some lovely things to remember that day.


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