Beyond Summer

This painting is called Elizabeth the Corn Maiden. Of course, I had to buy it.

Today is Flitch Day in England. As in “side of bacon”. I had no idea bacon had its own day. Seems appropriate that it should fall in the middle of the Dog Days. (No, I’m not fond of bacon. Nor does it ever agree with me.)

Today also marks the end of the care-free days of summer for me (not that I really know what that means). This weekend brings Bilberry Sunday, the last Sunday in July. This is the day when it’s customary to climb mountains, gather sweet fruits, and bury summer under the glaring sun. Crom Dubh, the Dark Crooked One, is on the ascendancy. So, as I only have Mondays and Tuesdays to dedicate to such things, I put Summer in its various bins and boxes and dug out Harvest.

The harvest season starts in two weeks with Lammas, the festival of the first loaves, which is also the beginning of Lughnasadh, the Games of Lugh, when it’s time to gather for fairs and contests and merriments of all sorts. This is my favorite time of the year. Beyond summer! And I have the perfect poem for today.

I believe I may have posted this in April, but I can’t find it. At any rate, it is timely now. And I think it’s good enough to go twice.

beyond summer

i am beyond summer now
but not yet in winter’s grasp
yes, beyond summer i am
beyond casual fecundity
and lazy green opulescence
under a wandering equatorial sun
i have no need of daisy chains
of glorious pink ribbons
because beyond the summerlands am i
oh yes, i remember those days of heat
remembrance and honour accordingly given
for within time one can only go through
and days stacked upon days lead to beyond
and i am beyond now

i am beyond
summer into the world of gold
yes, silver, pink, green and gold
and back again to silver is the wheel
but i am beyond green, just
gilded in all the joys of autumn
and the sorrows
for do we not bedeck bowers in bittersweet
beyond summer

and such sweetness
such are the dulcet days beyond summer
all golden afternoon and horn of plenty
and the breathless merriment of gathering
such luscious days of saffron and mead
but even such as these, keenly edged in pale regret
for summer is blind in its verdant lethargy
spring is innocent and ignorant
but autumn
yes, autumn knows winter only too well

i am beyond summer this day
but not this day in winter’s grip
just beyond summer
and with the fall of leaves i am no longer blind
all the riotous golden pageant of these days
is buttressed by a silver silence
so complete it breeds fierce desire
i know
for i am beyond summer now
these autumn days
these glowing golden autumn days, i know
are a vain pursuit
gaily gathering dry leaves from the wind

still i cannot but smile
even amidst these strident tears
for these golden days beyond summer
these golden days of fruited dreams
the days of harvestland
are the consummation of being
i am beyond summer now
and so all this i know
this day
yes, you may believe in spring
live to yearn for lost youth
you my lie complacent in the summerland
not agitating green thoughts beyond bouquets
but i
i live for the golden days
i know silver follows soon
still i am beyond summer now
and my desires are ripe and golden

©Elizabeth Anker 2021