A Summer Storm

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There’s going to be a thunderstorm quite soon,
The air is still, the sky is growing darker,
Clouds tower above and menacingly loom.
I’m sitting in the summer house beneath
The apple tree, late afternoon. Out there
And unaware of me are lots of birds.
They seem to lead such active busy lives:
Two swallows flutter in among and under-
neath the apple leaves to seek out flies
That congregate and shelter there, in vain;
The little perky nut-brown jenny wren
With jaunty tail is like a tiny mouse,
Now here, now there, and everywhere she goes;
On centre stage the tattered father blackbird
Who all summer long has toiled each day
His ever hungry importuning young
To feed is here attended by two portly
Daughters whose gaping bills he tries to fill;
From time to time the curious bright-eyed robin
Comes to sit upon the chimonière
From where he looks at me, the only bird
To know that I am watching from within.

The stage begins to clear then when a peal
Of thunder says the storm is nearly here.
The pattering on the wooden roof begins
To quicken, rain falls upon the paving stones
Outside in furious floods until again
It slackens and becomes desultory.
The stage is empty now, the curtain down,
All actors gone save for the garden toad
Who slowly crawls across the dampened grass
Enjoying all this wetness everywhere,
With raindrops sliding off his wrinkled skin.
And afterwards when now the storm has passed
A cool and welcome freshness fills the air,
The curtain lifts, and one by one the cast
Returns to centre stage, the play goes on.


– Pete Crowther




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