Archives for posts with tag: summer

Catherine Wald Rye Beach1
In the Swim
by Catherine Wald

I plunge in water cold and clear
to glide as weightless as a fish
with fluid motions lithe and sleek:
and as I dive, I disappear —
cut loose from earthly want and wish.
To learn anew to see and seek,
I slide below mad wave and chop
descend beneath slick surfaces,
ignoring pulls from shore and pier.
There are no stage sets here or props,
no boundaries or differences,
no tendencies to plan or steer.

As currents tug and buoy me,
I am a creature quite transformed:
a mermaid queen, a siren bold,
a woman who knows liberty
with cooled-down skin but blood still warm
whose legends are as yet untold.

PHOTO: The author with her mother at Rye Beach in Rye, New York, approximately 1956. The white towers in the background are Rye Playland.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’ve been a water baby since an early age (as you can see from the photo). I wrote this poem in response to my mother-in-law and her sister, who used to make fun of me for being in the water all the time when we spent time at their cabin on Lake Champlain. I wanted to convey to them why I love the water so much.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Catherine Wald is a poet and teacher based in Manhattan. Her poems have appeared in American Journal of Nursing, Chronogram, Friends Journal, Minerva Rising, J Journal, The Lyric, New York Times, Quarterday Review and Westchester Review; her chapbook, Distant, burned-out stars, was published in 2011 by Finishing Line Press. She is author of The Resilient Writer: Tales of Rejection and Triumph from 23 Top Authors (Persea 2005).  Visit her at catherinewald.com.

north avenue beach
A Lake Michigan Swim
by Tina Hacker

Chicago summers vaporized saliva
so even speaking was painful.
Tourists raved about the skyline,
rows of yachts lazing in the harbors.
But kids knew the lake
was the true attraction, fun and relief
in one package whose ends were open,
spilling thrills.

Bone-chilling waves roared out
like a siren to children being slathered
with sunscreen at the sandy edge.
A few raced in, ducked under,
pretended the water didn’t stab them.
Most approached baby step by baby step,
made genuflecting dips, kneeled to thighs,
then waist, then dove under, exulting
as their bodies embraced the cold.
Hands waved; legs leapt into sky;
imaginations spun bodies
into dolphins, mermaids, great white sharks.

After 40 minutes, parents on shore called,
“Time to come in.” Were ignored.
”Just ten minutes more.”
Wrapped in towels like burritos,
the kids’ lips
wore blue corn smiles.

SOURCE: Previously published in Imagination & Place: Weather.

IMAGE: Vintage postcard of North Avenue Beach, Chicago, Illinois.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I grew up in Chicago, Illinois, and spent many days swimming in Lake Michigan. I don’t know how I did it. That water is beyond cold even at the height of summer. It wasn’t until my family took a weekend trip to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, that I found out that some lakes have warm water. You don’t have to freeze at the beach!

Tina at Magic Flute

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tina Hacker is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee whose work has appeared in a wide variety of journals, both online and paper. Her full-length poetry book, Listening to Night Whistles, , published by Aldrich Press and her chapbook,Cutting It, published by The Lives You Touch Publications are available on Amazon. Since 1976, she has edited poetry for Veterans’ Voices, a magazine of writing by veterans across the country. This year she was given the honor of being a 2016 Muse of The Writers Place in Kansas City.

AUTHOR PHOTO: Tina Hacker posing behind a cutout at a performance ofThe Magic Flute.

Ruth on beach
Safety
by Ruth Bavetta

My grandmother would tie a rope
around my waist so I wouldn’t drown
in the green-fringed swells
that murmured and gurgled around the rocks.

She stood on dry sand, marooned
with her crutches, giving me freedom
with the one hand, safety with the other.
I floated naked in the water, sloshing
to and fro in the rhythm of the sea.

The waters spoke to me
when I was a measure only partly filled.
They called to me and sang
and I didn’t need to understand,
because I knew.

Here, in the inland garden,
I do not hear that song. Here,
I am dry and speechless, left
to stumble in the garments of experience
where no line leads to understanding.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo is from about 1938. Laguna was quiet and beautiful then.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I was a kid, my grandmother had a cottage almost on the sand at Laguna Beach. She was crippled by arthritis and couldn’t have run into the water to save me, so she did what she could.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ruth Bavetta is an artist and poet whose poems have been published in Rhino, Rattle, Nimrod, Tar River Poetry, North American Review, Spillway, and Poetry New Zealand, and many others. Her work is included in four anthologies. She has published three books, Flour Water Salt (FutureCycle Press) Embers on the Stairs (Moontide Press) and Fugitive Pigments (FutureCycle Press.). She loves the light on November afternoons, the smell of the ocean, a warm back to curl against in bed. She hates pretense, fundamentalism, and sauerkraut.

Reardon....8.1952
A watery echo
by Patrick T. Reardon

The home movies
show how red my
skin got from the
sun that day and
many other
days at the kids
blue-bottom pool
at Columbus
Park. We were all
so pale, Irish,
red and blond hair,
and deep sunburn,
on which we put
cool Noxema.

The odd-shape dark
spot the nice young
doctor found on
my back forty
years later was
a hot echo:
melanoma.

PHOTO: Two-year-old Patrick T. Reardon (rear) and his one-year-old brother David Michael (drinking from the hose) “swimming” in a bucket in the backyard (August 1952).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Given the subject, there wasn’t really anything else that suggested itself. The end lines of the two stanzas weren’t planned. They were serendipitous as was, in a reverse way, the sunburn and later skin issue.

Reardon.....2011

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Patrick T. Reardon
, who now avoids the sun, has been swimming in the ocean of words for the past 55 years and hasn’t drowned yet.

kellyredinger
A Short Dive from the Low Board
by John Lambremont, Sr.

That summer, the sun beat down on us
like it was the Devil himself;
we scampered for shade
into the thickest woods,
and drank a lot of hot water
from the garden hose.

The neighborhood pool was our savior,
our clear crystal blue oasis.
As soon as our summer membership began,
Mom started taking us to the pool
nearly every morning in June,
and we would often return again
with Dad late in the day.

On one sunny sojourn,
the Lackie twins and I
had the diving board
to ourselves; we performed
cannonballs and can openers,
jack-knives and swan dives
to our collective hearts’ content;
then we noticed that the lifeguard
had left temporarily his nearby post,
so we quickly concocted a plan.

We decided that the thing to do
was to all jump off the board
in rapid succession, taking
care not to land on each other,
so we prepared for the leap,
John in front, me in the middle,
and Jim taking up the rear.

John ran off the board,
and as I started to follow him,
I saw the lifeguard emerge
from the snack shop,
looking directly at me,
his face contorted with anger,
and about to shout, blow
his whistle, or both.
Busted, I stopped at mid-
board, and tried to turn around,
but in so doing, I ran into Jim,
lost my balance, and fell off
to the side like a poul-doux
being shot from the sky.

Time slowed to a crawl
as I rapidly descended;
I had no time to extend
my arms, and I landed
face-first on the concrete.
Stunned and numb, I drew
myself to my knees, checked
my face for blood, and found none.
My vision was awash in waves
as I staggered to my feet
and wobbled over to my mother
in her pool-side recliner.
She comforted me as I cried,
for once not scolding me
for doing a bad thing.

Jim got off the board gingerly,
and went to the spot where I fell.
He found there a small piece
of chipped tooth, picked it up,
and brought it to my mom.
She wrapped it up in a damp napkin,
summoned my little sister,
and took us home.

Dr. Lorio gave her concussion instructions,
and held me out of two baseball games.
The dentist said there was no way
to re-attach the chip, but that a cap
on the tooth was a viable alternative.
I declined, and to this day, one
can still see the chip in my upper incisor,
a permanent reminder of my
short dive from the low board.

PHOTO: “Boy jumping off diving board” by Kelly Redinger. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

1-John Lambremont, Sr. by Nhu-Y lambremont

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Lambremont, Sr., is a poet and writer from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. John has a B.A. in Creative Writing and a J.D. from Louisiana State University. His poems have been published internationally in many reviews and anthologies, including Clarion, The Minetta Review, The Chaffin Journal, Picayune, and Words and Images, and he has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize. John’s last full-length poetry volume is Dispelling the Indigo Dream (Local Gems Poetry Press 2013), and his latest chapbook is What It Means To Be A Man (And Other Poems Of Life And Death) (Finishing Line Press 2015). John’s new full-length poetry collection, The Moment Of Capture, will be published in June 2017 by Lit Fest Press.

02011103 - Version 7
Modesty
by Derek Kannemeyer

There’s a photograph of me at the beach:
I’m four or five, skulking in a nook of rock
with one arm flung across my midriff
to prevent the lascivious exposure of my navel.
Where did it come from, this modesty my parents hooted at,
in sunny South Africa, on the frolicsome Cape sands?
The panic caught on my face can’t be coy, surely;
surely I can’t believe I’ve anything much to protect?
It’s terrible to be born so private and so self-involved,
to be so modest and so immodest, as if anybody even cares
about the flaws or the perfections of one’s ordinary person.
How much longer must I hole up so, for the indifferent world
to not gawp at, holding this same shy, brazen pose?
Still stricken so with wonder at my terrible, terrible bellybutton;
still singing, “Don’t look at me! Don’t look at me!”

PHOTO: Three Kannemeyers on the rocks, circa 1954, Western Cape, South Africa.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The poem that appears here was written to announce an upcoming reading. In the few years since I wrote it, the photograph that inspired it seems to have utterly disappeared. Mmh. But I’ll offer another one, from the same year, I believe, in which you will notice that I am the only one of the subjects who remains decently clad. And unlike my brother and my father, I have my eyes closed: to draw attention, it may be conjectured, to my renunciation of all this unsavory (and yet poetic? rather charming?) self-flaunting of the exposed self.

kannemeyer-bio-shot

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Derek Kannemeyer was born in Cape Town, South Africa, raised in London, England, and teaches in Richmond, Virginia. His writing has appeared in a few dozen print and online journals.

summer1

Without Training Wheels
by Leslie Sittner

Drive-in movies were new venues in our area in 1952. Mom was fascinated. We went three or four times each week to different ones. We made a bed in the back of the station wagon and after the first movie, my brother and I had to go to sleep.

During intermission there were often drawings for popular items like bicycles. Ticket stubs were drawn to determine the winner. Since we were “four,” we always thought we had a pretty good chance of winning something.

We did. We won a girl’s bike with my brother’s ticket. Since he was too young to use it, the bike was mine. We were secretive about the real winner; my brother was young but had big ears.

Learning to ride required a week’s worth of training wheels. Dad coached. I did fine. They were removed. I was pretty cocky because I’d been taking gymnastic classes; I was strong, flexible, and had good balance. Unfortunately, steering, pedaling, and staying upright simultaneously was elusive without the extra little wheels. I practiced. And practiced. I practiced more. Dad gave up. Mom ran out of band-aids for my many cuts and scrapes.

When my parents suggested I give up and the bike be stored and saved for my brother, I learned very quickly to stay upright, ride straight, turn, and stop. Good psychology.

Now that I was on my own, I was allowed to ride on our suburban street as long a parent was supervising. I thought I was hot stuff. My little brother wasn’t permitted to leave the yard on his tricycle. I thought I was big-sister-hot-stuff.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This is me in 1952 with the drive-in bike, a neighbor, and my brother on his tricycle. To this day he doesn’t know the winning ticket was his.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This prompt brought back memories of easy childhood summers. Apparently there was more gender equity in wardrobes in 1952. Nowadays I always wear tops.

sittner_1-71

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Since returning to upstate New York after 25 years in Manhattan, Leslie Sittner has been turning to the written word as a form of self-expression and reflection. She began this journey two years ago and is just finding her voice in different formats. Two of her stories are now available in print in The Apple Tree by Third Age Press, and on-line prose at 101Words. A variety of prose and poetry can also be seen on-line at Silver Birch Press and 50 Word Challenge.

magritte
MIDSUMMER’S EVE
by Tamara Madison 

Now what must we do?
We have bathed in the dew
of the honey-eyed moon
run naked through
the glistening branches
to stir our seed and fill
our arms with life.
We have sought that rare plant
that none will tell the name of
nor its look – all that we
might learn thereby the secret
sacred language of trees.

IMAGE: “A Blue Tree” by René Magritte (1962).

Tamara_Madison

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tamara Madison teaches English and French at a public high school in Los Angeles. Raised on a citrus farm in the California desert, Tamara’s life has taken her many places, including Europe and the former Soviet Union, where she spent fifteen months in the 1970s. A swimmer and dog lover, Tamara says, “All I ever wanted to do with my life was write, and I mostly write poetry because it suits my lifestyle. I like the way one can say so much in the economical space of a poem.”

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CORN MAZE
by David Barber

Here is where
You can get nowhere
Faster than ever
As you go under
Deeper and deeper

In the fertile smother
Of another acre
Like any other
You can’t peer over
And then another

And everywhere
You veer or hare
There you are
Farther and farther
Afield than before

But on you blunder
In the verdant meander
As if   the answer
To looking for cover
Were to bewilder

Your inner minotaur
And near and far were
Neither here nor there
And where you are
Is where you were

SOURCE: Poetry (March 2013).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Barber is the poetry editor at The Atlantic. His first book The Spirit Level (Northwestern, 1995) was published as a winner of the Terrence Des Pres Prize. Barber’s poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including Field, Georgia Review, The New England Review, The New Republic, Paris Review, Poetry, and Virginia Quarterly Review. His reviews and articles have appeared in The Boston Globe, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The New Criterion, Parnassus, and elsewhere. He lives near Boston. His most recent poetry collection is Wonder Cabinet (Northwestern University Press, 2006), available at Amazon.com.

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A SUMMER WIND
by Michael Field

O wind, thou hast thy kingdom in the trees,
And all thy royalties
Sweep through the land to-day.
It is mid June,
And thou, with all thy instruments in tune,
Thine orchestra
Of heaving fields and heavy swinging fir,
Strikest a lay
That doth rehearse
Her ancient freedom to the universe.
All other sound in awe
Repeats its law:
The bird is mute; the sea
Sucks up its waves; from rain
The burthened clouds refrain,
To listen to thee in thy leafery,
Thou unconfined,
Lavish, large, soothing, refluent summer wind.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Under the pseudonym Michael Field, Katherine Harris Bradley and Edith Emma Cooper published eight books of poetry and twenty-seven plays in late 19th-century Britain. The two women enjoyed a warm reception as Michael Field in Victorian literary circles upon the release of their first major verse drama, Callirhoë and Fair Rosamond (1884), and remained an integral part of the British literary scene up until their deaths from cancer within nine months of each other in 1913 and 1914. All of their work was written jointly — Cooper and Bradley even claimed that they often could not tell each other’s lines apart.