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Original Poem: "Summer God" with Commentary

Updated on October 8, 2017
Maya Shedd Temple profile image

After I fell in love with Walter de la Mare's "Silver" in Mrs. Edna Pickett's sophomore English class, circa 1962, poetry became my passion.

Lilacs in Our Backyard

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Moss Rose

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Autumn Yard

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Snow out my Study Window

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Poems and Commentary

A tribute to the season of summer in five unrimed couplets: "The summer god has been so prolific that fall has material to work with."

Linda Sue Grimes’ poem, "Summer God," will appear in her forthcoming collection, "As Tulips Dance and Sway."

Summer God

Spring lilacs hint at your arrival
As does rain on blades of grass.

All summer you play hide & seek
In the moss rose.

Fall, you play your game of colors
Dazzling me with harvest.

Winter finds you tempering me for the thaw
As the nights grow longer and colder—

Let me make my life a soft, sweet spring
That flows into you, O Divine Beloved Summer!

_____________________________________

Commentary
Depending on whichever is one’s favorite season, one can make a case that the others revolve around it. In this case, the speaker clearly favors summer, with spring a close second, and the others just serving the cause of summer. The god of summer smiles and blesses creative souls.

First Couplet: "Spring lilacs hint at your arrival"
The first couplet begins the process of focusing on summer by focusing on spring. Because spring heralds the arrival of summer, the speaker feels that allowing spring to help introduce the main subject is in order. The beauty of spring "hint[s]" at the approaching of the following season.

Without a doubt, the fragrance of lilacs serves to symbolize the spring season; thus it is lilacs that beckon the senses, awaking them to the coming season of summer, as it will furnish ever deeper sensory material. "Rain on blades of grass" also serves as the emblematic herald, as its fecund presence during the spring season motivates the grass to green up from its lazy browns and beiges.

Thus the two spring icons rain and early blooming flowers with grass turning fluorescent serve as the perfect trumpet proclaiming the glory of spring while projecting the coming glory of summer. The god of summer has issued to spring the ability to create magic.

Second Couplet:: "All summer you play hide & seek"
Summer finds the summer god teasing the speaker in the meek, little, delicate portulaca. The succulent leaf-stems of the plant offer a shining symbol of summer as they support the burgeoning blooms of delicate petals.

But the moss rose, as it spreads, will come and go. Those delicate blossoms vanish soon but reappear continually throughout the summer season, until per chance, too much hot sun turns them into stings of their former selves.

Still the moss rose, like the lilac in spring, is a perfect iconic reminder that summer consists of the creativity wherein beauty bounds in blissful brightness.

Third Couplet: "Fall, you play your game of colors"
Summer’s riotous colors take on a definite transformation in the next season. Fall’s autumnal glory consists of summer’s excesses and exists only because of summer. Without summer, there would be no green grass to turn brown, no green leaves to brown and fall, no harvest to harvest, no flowers to fade. The summer god has been so prolific that fall has material to work with.

If summer is the focal part of the year as a protagonist, then fall is the antagonist, dependent completely on the very fact that summer activity was so creative and active.

Fourth Couplet: "Winter finds you tempering me for the thaw"
The speaker in winter feels "tempered" by the cold that begins its cover. From the summer heat through the fall's cooling, the speaker has experienced a slow change as the winter "nights grow longer and colder."

But this speaker is crediting the summer god with her ability to acclimate to such a winter. The time happens to be winter, but it is still the summer god who is in charge of the speaker’s ability to become accustomed to the cold. The relativity of it all speaks to the importance of what is what, who is who, and how and when things change and for what reason.

Fifth Couplet: "Let me make my life a soft, sweet spring"
Finally, the speaker addresses to the summer god her prayer: she wants her life to be like spring flowing into summer. She wishes to anticipate the blessedness of warmth, color, and beauty that only summer holds.

While showing a devout appreciation for all the seasons, the speaker nevertheless reveals her soft spot for spring and summer. She prays that her very life yield the fruits of spring and summer as she glides into the total unity with the ultimate Summer God.

© 2016 Linda Sue Grimes

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