End of the summer holidays
This was the time our pockets all hung low
with fall-clipped fruit now smeared with streaks of clay.
This was the time the garden candles’ glow
lit up the crayfish dish with quivering ray.
It almost felt too cold to take a swim,
and cobwebs draped themselves round scrub and fern.
When too the last hay had been taken in,
the sky was chill and clear, the wind quite stern.
These were the days when grudgingly one weighed
each hour till summer’s quota had been filled.
This was the time when every hour displayed
an inner force that was to be distilled.
And yet at times one left all play behind
sought out a hill where it was good to lie
and with a ten-year-old’s dark-musing mind
observe the swallows’ flight and clouds file by.
One evening, with the wooden houses burnished
a glowing crimson by the sun, one left –
holding the farewell gift that summer furnished,
a bag of Astrakhans, clasped to one’s chest.
One rode off to the station, tearful-eyed,
while crickets, drunk with joy, still chirped and squealed
their final summer notes on every side
from what were empty, cattle-trampled fields.