Monday, June 27, 2016

Monday's Poetry: "What Is so Rare as a Day in June?"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

The month of June is almost over, and with its passing will go one of the more pleasant and hopeful times of the year.  While June usually presents as green and lush, by the time July sets in the grass is turning brown and summer dust begins to ride the hot breezes.  So it becomes important to appreciate the beauty of June while it is still with us.

This June at The Roost has witnessed the arrival of one incubator peacock and four little black ducklings, along with a kitten who now calls the chicken coop her home.  The baby chicks that I bought at the end of April have now been released and spend their days working the yard looking for bugs and morsels.  They appear to be right at home among the big, brown older chickens.   One of the peahens has made a nest in the barn where she patiently sits on seven eggs.  We may have more baby peacocks by the time another week has passed.

The garden is in, and I have already picked one tomato.  There are some cucumbers that will be ready by this evening, and peppers for picking by the end of the week.  As the poet James Russell Lowell says in today's selection, "Everything is upward striving."

It's June, and while the days are getting hotter and the need for mowing has yet begun to taper off, it remains a beautiful month.

What Is so Rare as a Day in June?
by James Russell Lowell

AND what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays;
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean
To be some happy creature's palace;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o'errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,-
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?
Now is the high-tide of the year,
And whatever of life hath ebbed away
Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer,
Into every bare inlet and creek and bay;
Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it,
We are happy now because God wills it;
No matter how barren the past may have been,
'Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green;
We sit in the warm shade and feel right well
How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell;
We may shut our eyes but we cannot help knowing
That skies are clear and grass is growing;
The breeze comes whispering in our ear,
That dandelions are blossoming near,
That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,
That the river is bluer than the sky,
That the robin is plastering his house hard by;
And if the breeze kept the good news back,
For our couriers we should not lack;
We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing,-
And hark! How clear bold chanticleer,
Warmed with the new wine of the year,
Tells all in his lusty crowing!
Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how;
Everything is happy now,
Everything is upward striving;
'Tis as easy now for the heart to be true
As for grass to be green or skies to be blue,-
'Tis for the natural way of living:
Who knows whither the clouds have fled?
In the unscarred heaven they leave not wake,
And the eyes forget the tears they have shed,
The heart forgets its sorrow and ache;
The soul partakes the season's youth,
And the sulphurous rifts of passion and woe
Lie deep 'neath a silence pure and smooth,
Like burnt-out craters healed with snow.

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