Summer in the Garden

A selection of poems by Lawrence “Mack in Texas” Hall (Rated G)

Elephant Ears
Summer’s small children in shorts and bare feet
Scamper about in the dewy morning lawns
Among the elephant ears, chasing and laughing
Looking for the rest of the elephant


The Theory and Practice of Summer
(June is Dairy Month)

Summer is better in theory than in practice:
Watermelon days barefootin’ in the shade
Pole-fishing for perch in the neighbor’s pond
Oak-tree afternoons lost in a library book

Oh, no

Up before dawn to get the milk cows in
Fence-building blisters in the prickly heat
Pulling the weeds in Mama’s garden plot
And hauling to the barn late August hay

Oh, yes

Summer’s not what it could be, as a rule
But still it’s good because there ain’t no school!


Inspecting My Bunker
I have been inspecting my bunker today:
Sunflowers are at their posts, saluting the sun
Bright butterflies inspect the marigolds
And deem them safe for a pass-in-review

Zinnias in happy colors riot along the fence
A perimeter keeping the puppies safe inside
(But an easy path for a ‘possum gourmet
Each night on his tasty tomato raids)

No concrete here, no iron, no clanging doors
No darkness – for this
is a celebration of Light


Bees Disapprove of Us
There’s nothing the bees care to learn from us
We talk to them anyway in our idleness
Having put away the hose or the rake
We’re in the mood to gab for a little while

But Calvinist bees fly impatiently by
From flower to water to office-hive
To check their quotas and hum their reports
Then speed back to their favorite flowered fields

They disapprove of us indolent men
And so rebuke us for our slothy sin


Obsequies for a Hummingbird
Some disagree about the nature of death
Maintaining that it is in the nature of life
A logical end, and not to be mourned
But we were in Eden, and so we mourn

A hummingbird in death is unnatural
Its tiny wings should be as immortal as
They are invisible in darting flight
Shimmering forever in green and red

I will not bury it, no; I will lift
It gently into the bole of an oak

And from there, God…


The Cherry Tree Who Visited an Apple Orchard and Decided to Stay
In the blowing-wind dusk the cherry tree waves
Far more than the orchard’s Anna-apple trees
Into whose company it has intruded itself
This party-crasher who has somehow moved in

While the cherry tree waves its leaves about
A single cricket hidden in the grass
Chirrups an evening hymn of just one note
As the work-weary birds wing to the woods

The last sunbeams have climbed up and away
And winked goodnight to this cherry-tree day

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