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(7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)

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A Summer Afternoon

A languid atmosphere, a lazy breeze,
With labored respiration, moves the wheat
From distant reaches, till the golden seas
Break in crisp whispers at my feet.

My book, neglected of an idle mind,
Hides for a moment from the eyes of men;
Or lightly opened by a critic wind,
Affrightedly reviews itself again.

Off through the haze that dances in the shine
The warm sun showers in the open glade,
The forest lies, a silhouette design
Dimmed through and through with shade.

A dreamy day; and tranquilly I lie
At anchor from all storms of mental strain;
With absent vision, gazing at the sky,
"Like one that hears it rain."

The Katydid, so boisterous last night,
Clinging, inverted, in uneasy poise,
Beneath a wheat-blade, has forgotten quite
If "Katy DID or DIDN'T" make a noise.

The twitter, sometimes, of a wayward bird
That checks the song abruptly at the sound,
And mildly, chiding echoes that have stirred,
Sink into silence, all the more profound.

And drowsily I hear the plaintive strain
Of some poor dove . . . Why, I can scarcely keep
My heavy eyelids--there it is again--
"Coo-coo!"--I mustn't--"Coo-coo!"--fall asleep!

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003


Read poems about / on: sometimes, silence, rain, song, summer, wind, sky, sun, night, dance

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Comments about this poem (A Diverted Tragedy by James Whitcomb Riley )

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  • Savita Tyagi (3/14/2014 7:58:00 AM)

    Absolutely beautiful. Each and every word sprayed a mist of tranquility like a sprinkler in hot summer.

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Meena Mustafa (3/14/2013 8:11:00 PM)

    An excellent write. Enjoyed reading it.

  • Karen Sinclair (3/14/2013 3:34:00 AM)

    Absolutely gorgeous. Brought visions is tranquility and just sheer self moments. I adore this so much! ! !

  • Regan Fossen (3/14/2012 3:11:00 PM)

    how wonderful, just brings tears to my eyes

  • Regan Fossen (3/14/2012 3:09:00 PM)

    such an inspiration! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

  • Andrew B (3/14/2012 3:07:00 PM)

    Regan, here i am! Add me!

  • Andrew B (3/14/2012 3:06:00 PM)

    Oh great! music to my ears! bravo

  • Karen Deeks (3/14/2012 1:35:00 PM)

    To lay within the countryside and slowly drift, where tranquility and a warm sun gently lulls one to sleep... I really enjoyed this poem... Not quite spring... Has me looking forward to the therapy that is summer...

  • Carlos Echeverria (3/14/2012 10:47:00 AM)

    The first stanza is, indeed, a perfect set-up, with the push-pull tension of the words 'languid, lazy' versus 'labored, moves'.

  • Herman Chiu (3/15/2010 8:08:00 PM)

    I know exactly what he means - he captured one of my most significant landscapes.
    Mr. Pruchnicki, that's exactly what I think!
    What a wonderful experience that must have been!

Read all 18 comments »
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