Trying to beat the heat? I suggest slipping away into one of the following 15 poems about hot summer days to get you through the next heat wave. These odes to summer, in all of its misery and grandeur, will help you put the heat to work, bringing the poets' words to life all around you.
I'm from the Southern United States, where summer is four-to-six months of Hell on Earth. We're talking 90-degree temperatures, humidity that hovers around 75 percent, and just all-around ickiness. If you live in one of the myriad places with milder, drier summers, your experience of a "hot summer's day" will be a lot less yucky than mine, but our summers still have a few things in common — barbecues, baseball, beaches, and the possibility of summer love.
The 15 poems on the list below capture the beauty and struggle of summer in all its messy vibrancy. Whether you grew up spending your summer in a bathing suit and flip flops, or you distinctly recall the taste of popsicles in the park, the summer poetry I've picked out for you should evoke a sense of deep nostalgia for simpler, sunnier times. I've only included brief snippets of verse here, but you can read each poem in full by following the link beneath the blurb.
"Summer Night, Riverside" by Sara Teasdale
In the wild soft summer darkness
How many and many a night we two together
"Still Life with Canoe" by Idra Novey
Levinas asked if we have the right
To be the way I ask my sons
If they'd like to be trees
"Swimming in the Presence of Lurid Opposition" by Sawako Nakayasu
Summer camp, swim class, Tokyo, a group of no more than twenty ants all donning their respective swimming caps, some with images of their favorite anime characters printed on the fabric.