English summer


English summer


The roads weep tears of tar

As the country bakes.

The smell of dust and burning earth

Mingles with the scents

Of barbecues and beer.

Dogs pant, distressed

By this unusual heat.

The puddles that once

Were inland lakes, shrink,

Dry up and vanish,

Leaving cracking mud

Peppered with footprints.

A few days only,

And yet we crave rain,

A cooling breeze at least;

The nights a humid torment,

Skin sticking to sheets,

Mouth parched by 3 a.m,

Head pounding from poor sleep,

We curse the early birds,

The only ones pleased

To see the rising sun.

Lawns yellow, turn to straw,

The earth beneath unforgiving

As concrete or stone,

Holding the heat for hours

And giving it back all night.

Tempers fray, quarrels start,

Passions rise to boiling point.

The long days draw out,

Hellish hot and airless,

Fields whiten with ripening wheat,

The thrips infest my hair,

Tickling and torturing me

With pinpoint irritation

Grown great with weary heat.

Too brief, these days of sun:

Thunder storms relieve us,

The first drops sizzling

As they hit the burning ground.

The air, cool and damp,

Brings fresher nights

And better sleep for all.

20 thoughts on “English summer

  1. Very impressive imagery which causes the effect of palpable heat.
    I guess a true artist like you can be inspired by virtually anything and convert it into a poem or another form of art. I would never have been impressed by the hot summer. And we do have hot summers where I live. Scorching and dusty in the city. Then there is the summer rain, profuse but brief and instead of bringing relief from the heat, it becomes sultry and the air gets heavy with humidity and the smell of dust. But let me not digress, I love the poem.


  2. Sounds a lot like an Indian Summer. Does it really become that hot in England?

    As usual – your poem made me see everything that you wanted it to show…and what I’ve been seeing around me for the past two months.

    “Thunder storms relieve us,
    The first drops sizzling
    As they hit the burning ground.
    The air, cool and damp,
    Brings fresher nights
    And better sleep for all.”

    We had a short spell of that, the day before:)

    Warm Regards,


    • Not as hot as India, no but it does get into the mid 90s some years. the trouble is that we get humid heat and that is hard to bear.


  3. Nice.
    I hope that you sleep well when its time.
    Summer is my least favourite season ,it makes my work twice as hard. I wish we had the long days in fall or winter when my work is easier.
    My mother tells me I will want horns before I die.



      • I can only assume the saying orginated from the idea that a person who is not satisfied and always wants what they can’t have would eventually even want something as absurd as horns on their head.
        I have heard it many times. 🙂


  4. Shafali says it reminds her of Indian Summer and here I stand transported to the Aussie Summers and the draught..

    Wonderful strong imagery….

    Thank you!


  5. Hi Viv – had trouble commenting on latest post on bees so posting here instead. I think writers are like Queen bees – they lay little seeds of inspiration that can be raised in others hearts. Much like your portraits!


    • Thank you. Arjuna(I did know your name but have lost it; forthcoming post explains my delays etc; sorry!)
      I didnt want to labour that analogy to far but you are right, and bee eggs look very like tiny tiny seeds…


  6. I have trouble too. It doesn’t allow comments. It says “Page not found”.

    Anyway, I love the post and the conclusion, especially.


    • Thank you Robert. The photo is taken at the top of the south downs in Sussex(on the south coast of England) last summer. I got some lovely snaps that day.
      It’s been hotter this summer though…


  7. Belle Vivienne…..
    I never ever tire of reading anything that you write…Such a talent !! You made me feel as if I was right there , on a limb of a tree…taking in all that you wrote !


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