It was a scorcher today.
We ate ice-lollies in the office
and called it quits at five
only to find
the District Line had melted.
It really is too hot for any more words about this very warm day in London. Some say it has been the hottest day of the year. The weather forecast suggests there may be another day or two of similar intensity.
A couple of years ago I happened to write another poem about a warm summer’s Wednesday and being confined to an office.
And along with the District Line melting, my internet connection has been on a go-slow while preparing and uploading this post. Perhaps the heat has jammed its way into all the day’s component parts.
A Round Robin, by M. A. Hoyer and Robert Ellice Mack, illustrated by Harriett M. Bennett, c. 1891. Image sourced from The Old Design Shop
Watching the bees
Here are the words of the blazing day
and the once beautiful arrangements.
It was heady, was it not?
The arrival of this brightest of days.
Outside the day was perfection.
Here a few few bees in the garden
hid under clumps of cut grass.
Why are they tucking themselves away?
Or are they burrowing for pollen,
heady on word from the other bees?
Our day of blazing perfection was heady,
was it not?
Was it not?
It has been a wildly warm day by London standards. I tried to write in the garden first thing this morning. The bees and butterflies and a single large-bodied horsefly were my ground company.
Image with thanks to postcardiva.blogspot.co.uk
“Another Summer’s Day” – a poem from this time last year about balmy summer temperatures that taunt you when you’re in the office.
I love the illustrative image so much that I’ve set it once again as my personal FB profile pic over this warm summer season. The slightly saucy, deceptively demure water nymphette resonates with me.
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A Blow-fly (Calliphora, probably Calliphora vomitória). Photo by Jens Buurgaard Nielsen via Wikimedia Commons.
Soft to the thumb,
the pear I sliced
It was rotten inside.
In a wither of ruffles
the rose-heads have browned
dry in the heat.
They sodden after it’s stormed.
Even the blowflies ferocious
have stopped their wings,
landed their green torpedoes
for the last time.
Something from lunch
churns in my stomach –
the rice, three days old?
the dhal, two days defrosted?
the sliver of cheese, too sweaty?
the coffee, a cup too many?
Now I, too, struggle
to hold down this summer.
At the moment in London, it is exceedingly warm during the day. Not that it doesn’t get hotter in other places, but here nothing is equipped for the heat. Flowers wilt, flies buzz themselves out, food perspires and no sooner have you laid it in the bowl, the fruit ripens. Even the broadband at the house has conked out.
So I shall have to venture to the library to post this poem and a few scheduled archive items. It was my plan to do so early, when the day was still cool from the night rains and the school holiday crowds hadn’t descended. But I went dancing last night… I too am not quite sure what to do with myself. This is not so much because of the heat. I am a born-and-bred Cape Town girl, after all. (In truth though, I – and my Medea hair – do struggle with the humidity.) My muse seems to be awol once again.
Perhaps my muse has also surrendered to this overdose of summer.
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012
The soda needs fountain;
the lolli needs pop.
Pink milk goes for shake;
red counters seek top.
On jukeboxes rave
and motors rev bike.
Heat moves towards wave,
while cream swirls for ice.
Young leather struts jackets,
then shy ankles flash socks.
The point brings us to make-out
where our lips search for lock.
Clearly winter charges in me thoughts of a fantasy ’50s summer. Daily lunchtime bowls of vegetable soup bring me to pink milkshakes and red counter-top diners.
Thank goodness for the yields of internet research. My googling provided insights into everything from 1950’s teen fashion trends to the song hit ‘Rave On’, from retro diner-menus to make-out habits of the day.
The internet and imaginative nostalgia seems to be an apt pairing, too.
In my books, you will find more poems tinged with nostalgia. Click on each title for a preview:
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness