Summer sidles up to Fall


Big Island, Hawaii

by cheri

Bay leaves fall  onto my outdoor cocktail table; the sun sidles up to her lover, Fall. He’s still standoffish, waiting and plotting for the days to shorten, waiting for the yellow jackets to go home, the burning afternoons to chill, the begonias to drop their orange flowers in resignation of the coming West Wind, Zephyr.

I’ve been reading Harold Bloom’s Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages and thought to offer you all this summer poem, as She leaves us to contemplate Fall.

If you read it once and the images confound you, then try reading the first clause alone, and then start the next clause mid-line. It will make sense! For example,

I saw a peacock. With a fiery tail, I saw a blazing comet. Drop down hail I saw a cloud…and so on…the wonders of language!

I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail


I saw a peacock, with a fiery tail

I saw a blazing comet, drop down hail

I saw a cloud, wrapped with ivy round

I saw an oak creep, upon the ground

I saw a pismire, swallow up a whale

I saw the sea, brimful of ale

I saw a Venice glass, full fifteen feet deep

I saw a well, full of men’s tears that weep

I saw red eyes, all of a flaming fire

I saw a house, bigger than the moon and higher

I saw the sun, at twelve o’clock at night

I saw the man that saw this wondrous sight.


The Aleutian Peninsula, Alaska

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
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7 Responses to Summer sidles up to Fall

  1. shoreacres says:

    I so enjoyed this, although I did have to look up the meaning of “pismire.” I felt better when I saw it’s considered archaic. I especially liked the image of the ivy-wrapped cloud.

    I’ve noticed that the light is changing, and the days are shortening a bit. I’m not ready to let go of summer quite yet, but only because I have things to do, and work to finish, before I can enjoy the fall. Since time will click on at its accustomed rate, perhaps I should speed up a bit.

    • Cheri says:

      This poem is a “trick poem” I used to begin poetry instruction.You can read it the way you see it or you can read the middle of each line into the next image and then it makes sense. Try it!

  2. Richard says:

    Your words and the words of the poem teach me to relish every day, every change, every season, short or long, every life, young or old, wherever I may be.

      • Richard says:

        The poem exposes how I srain to attach meanings to words even though half of each line after a comma has been shifted upwards.

        By way of punishment, I had to spend three or four hours yesterday shifting half the lines of a long Excel spreadsheet to different rows in search of an error, and still haven’t found it. I’ve never had to do anything like it before. It’s driving me bonkers (even more than before).

        I shan’t risk my grandchildren’s sanity on this particular poem!

        Just how many of your students have you reduced to jibbering nonsense? 😖

        No wonder the poet chose to remain anonymous.

        I’ll tell you what, I’ll set you a sneaky exercise: write a poem that rhymes and scans and still has real meaning whether you shift half the lines upwards or downwards.

        • Cheri says:

          I cannot do what you have asked. Remember, the anonymous author is from England. He could have been one of your ancestors. I wouldn’t be surprised. Your grandchildren will LOVE this. I guarantee it.

  3. Paul Costopoulos says:

    I’m with Richard on this one.

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