15 Poems About Hot Summer Days To Get You Through The Next Heat Wave

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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.

'The Woman Who Turned Down a Date with a Cherry Farmer' by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

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Of course I regret it. I mean there I was under umbrellas of fruit
so red they had to be borne of Summer, and no other season.

Read the poem in full here.

"Baseball" by Gail Mazur

The game of baseball is not a metaphor
and I know it’s not really life.

Read the poem in full here.

"He Visits My Town Once a Year" by Amir Khusrow

He visits my town once a year.
He fills my mouth with kisses and nectar.

Read the poem in full here.

"Let Birds" by Linda Gregg

Eight deer on the slope
in the summer morning mist.

Read the poem in full here.

"No Name" by Emily Berry

What can I tell you? It was a summer that seemed to be
making history — their personal history — almost before
it began

Read the poem in full here.

"Summer Night, Riverside" by Sara Teasdale

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In the wild soft summer darkness
How many and many a night we two together

Read the poem in full here.

"Vacation" by Rita Dove

I love the hour before takeoff,
that stretch of no time, no home

Read the poem in full here.

"First Blues" by Saundra Rose Maley

That summer night
Was hot

Read the poem in full here.

"Dog Days of Summer" by Meena Alexander

In the dog days of summer as muslin curls on its own heat
And crickets cry in the black walnut tree

Read the poem in full here.

"in lieu of a poem, i'd like to say" by Danez Smith

apricots & brown teeth in browner mouths nashing dates & a clementine's underflesh under yellow nail

Read the poem in full here.

"Long Island Sound" by Emma Lazarus

I see it as I looked one afternoon
In August, — by a fresh, soft breeze o'erblown.

Read the poem in full here.

"Still Life with Canoe" by Idra Novey

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Levinas asked if we have the right
To be the way I ask my sons
If they'd like to be trees

Read the poem in full here.

"Summer" by Robin Coste Lewis

Last summer, two discrete young snakes left their
skin on my small porch, two mornings in a
row.

Read the poem in full here.

"A Parking Lot in West Houston" by Monica Youn

Angels are unthinkable
in hot weather

Read the poem in full here.

"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.

Read the poem in full here.