Ever since even before William Shakespeare's famous "shall I compare thee to a summer's day" everyone's (well, should be everyone's) favorite season has gone together with poetry like peanut butter and jelly. Poems about summer have the ability to make you feel the hazy heat, the sand between your toes, the smell of the chlorine in the city pool, and the strip of sunburn across your racer back tank like no other manner of writing can.
And let's face it: In summertime you have no time to waste. You're on the go from a beach day to a barbecue night (OK, fine, maybe from work to sitting in front of your perfectly cross-breezed fans eating a Popsicle to stay cool.) But in case you are having trouble keeping up with your summer reading, poetry can be a perfect way to get your reading in. So much is packed into these poems about summer that you'll get a full, magical education in just a few lines.
There are contemporary poems and classics, all expressing the unique mood and hot, hot heat of the summertime, whether they're in the city, up atop a mountain, or on a remote beach. Trust me, some of these you're going to want to cut out and stick up on your mirror.
1. "Summer Stars" by Carl Sandburg
2. "Before Summer Rain" by Rainer Maria Rilke
3. "In The Summer" by Nizar Qabbani
4. "Summer" by Louise Gluck
5. "Morningside Heights, July" by William Matthews
6. "Sonnet 18" by William Shakespeare
7. "Summer Night, Riverside" by Sara Teasdale
8. "Moths" by Jennifer O'Grady
9. "Night Swims" by Marcia LeBeau
All the kids went to the community pool every summer day. Mom made us waitfor evening so she could swim her laps in peace. Sunlight skimmed
the water, dropped too low to filter down, but the night breeze warmed our plungesthen chilled our towel-wrapped bodies. Mom’s blue terrycloth cover-up barely covered
her thighs as she shifted the car home. I would shiver upstairs to the showerand jump in with her. Unnerved by the curves and hair of her body
I didn’t possess. When would I turn this strange looking? We were ravenouson those nights. Always a quick salad, cherry tomatoes squirting seeds
inside our cheeks, lettuce, peppers, corn on the cob, green beans, the navy blue pitcherwith white corn flowers full of ice tea. My friends called later. Their fingers sticking
to the phone from bomb pops in the afternoon, told me what I had missedat the pool during the day. Now, when I go to the gym pool I choose a lane
by the window graced with patches of sunlight, even when the lifeguardpoints to a darker one that’s open. I sit at the edge, dangle my feet and wait.
10. "In the Mountains on a Summer Day" by Li Po
11. "The Summer I Was Sixteen" by Geraldine Connolly
Shaking water off our limbs, we liftedup from ladder rungs across the fern-coollip of rim. Afternoon. Oiled and sated,we sunbathed, rose and paraded the concrete,
danced to the low beat of "Duke of Earl".Past cherry colas, hot-dogs, Dreamsicles,we came to the counter where bees staggeredinto root beer cups and drowned. We gobbled
cotton candy torches, sweet as furtive kisses,shared on benches beneath summer shadows.Cherry. Elm. Sycamore. We spread our chenilleblankets across grass, pressed radios to our ears,
mouthing the old words, then loosenedthin bikini straps and rubbed baby oil with iodineacross sunburned shoulders, tossing a glancethrough the chain link at an improbable world.