Missing August light

"Clover Fields," Rockwell Kent

“Clover Fields,” Rockwell Kent

Two years ago I had this idea that each month of the year shone with its own unique quality of light, and that I should write a twelve-poem cycle that would capture those qualities. As it is with many summer projects, I made a start but couldn’t follow through because–well–because hammock, because barbecue. You know how it goes.

I ran across the abortive effort last night, one poem imaginatively titled “August Light,” and realized that in this chilly August, this particular light has been completely passed over. As long as you’re all showing off your North Country stoicism by resisting the impulse to fire up the furnace “just to take the chill off,” maybe this will provide you with a little warmth.

August Light

In the cool morning of a hot day
the road is lined with chicory,
purple loosestrife, buttercups
and Queen Anne’s lace.

The corn is green, grass is brown,
the sky blue, except at the horizon
where haze tints the raking light
the same shade as lemonade.

When I was five I would walk
in lemon light all by my lonesome
(without crossing the street)
to the store for a five-cent treat.

And at ten, identical light shone
down through filtering oaks
where I crossed the rusted tracks
to mess about beside the river.

It was light the shade of lemonade
I was trying to evoke at twenty,
sweating out the writing workshop,
beating at the page like a moth.

At forty, this light lit up my dad–
elbow out the window, pipe in teeth,
ball-capped, driving a ’67 Safari,
trailing his motorboat toward heaven.

Memory, sweet and sour, mixed
like lemonade in August light.
Everything everywhere always shining–
that is how the light looks now.


10 Comments on “Missing August light”

  1. Deb Packard says:

    Dale, your poems are astonishing – they capture such piercing emotion. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Mary Harding says:

    I am deeply touched.

  3. Robin says:

    I think poets may be the most under appreciated artists in our culture. Songwriters are able to overlay their words with the emotion of the music but poets must evoke that emotion solely with their words. Yours do that with just the right economy of words. Thanks!

  4. Addison Bickford says:


  5. Joyce Dangremond says:

    I enjoyed the poem very much as it captures August Light beautifully as well as familiar memories. I hope that you find time to write about the remaining 11 months.

  6. Teresa Fry says:


  7. I’d like to see you finish the cycle, Dale.

  8. Becky Harblin says:


  9. A painting with words, Dale….just wonderful images conjured up by your thoughtful words.

  10. seszoo says:

    Great Poem, Sum’s it up exactly and gives a moment to reflect . Thanks ..

Comments are closed.