Sounds of Summer Evenings
by Mary Kendall

Sometimes at night I sit outside
In the screened-in porch out back.

In the darkness, the rustling leaves
Of the tall beech trees are blowing.

The katydids call to one another,
An evening of antiphonal refrain.

On nights when a heavy rain falls,
All you can hear are the tireless frogs

Chorusing in the garden pond.
The deep lone bass, the shrill soprano,

This diverse and discordant choir
Seems to be one of rhapsodical joy.

And then there are times when an owl
Soundlessly lands in a nearby tree

And startles me with its resonant call,
Letting me know it’s now on watch.

Two times more it calls, low and deep.
I rise and go, time now for me to sleep.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Northern by birth, I have lived for more than 35 years in North Carolina. Our summer nights are especially noisy. From frogs and owls to whip-poor-wills and katydids, there are times when it is absolutely deafening. Then there are the “call and response” night singers. I love those most of all. I love to sit outside in our screened-in porch when it is dark. The dog often comes and sits with me listening and keeping me company. She makes no sound herself, knowing that we are the polite and attentive audience to this vast chorus of night.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Curious Little Green Anole” (Chapel HIll, North Carolina) by Qing Yang. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Kendall is the author of the chapbook, Erasing the Doubt (Finishing Line Press (c) 2015) and A Giving Garden (c) 2009. She is a retired teacher presently living and writing in London, but her home is Chapel Hill, North Carolina.