August blew his flute in the shade,
lay down by the water, kicked off his shoes,
put his feet up, refused to care
about money, time, the national debt.
August lounged on tree limbs,
hung tires from branches, fell in love
with water, played break the wave,
jump the wave, ride the wave in.
August faced the horizon with indifference,
waited for pecans to fall, muscadines
to turn, trumpet vines to sound
their wild annunciations.
August proclaimed the fish in the trees,
the cleavage of shadows, the stars
shooting holes in the sky,
God in his glass-bottomed boat.
For once the dog days of August
were not dog days at all
but children running through woods,
warming their mouths with words
unafraid to be spoken. August
sang to mockingbirds’ random chants,
pressed his face into crepe myrtles,
wore mimosa in his hair, scratched his name
into trunks of trees. August made friends
with everyone, fed the birds,
watered the plants, wanted to give
his bread to the child in the street.
August came in without fanfare,
stayed its requisite number of days,
colored the night bright with stars,
left us the resurrection of children.
From The Book of Days, a chapbook published online by the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature in 2009.
Used with the author's permission.
Originally from Greenwood, SC, Scott Owens holds degrees from Ohio University, UNC Charlotte, and UNC Greensboro. He currently lives in Hickory, NC, where he teaches at Catawba Valley Community College, edits Wild Goose Poetry Review, serves as vice-president of the NC Poetry Society and regional representative of the NC Writers Network, and is coordinator of Poetry Hickory. Scott also owns and operates Taste Full of Beans Coffeehouse and Gallery. His 12th book of poetry, To, is schedule for released by Main Street Rag in early November.
Perhaps another word for retirement should be August. This is exactly what I want my days to be like, beautiful, thoughtful, full of good works and love. I've kicked off my shoes and "refuse to care about money, time, the national debt." Good work.
Posted 08/01/2014 03:31 PM
OH! I thank you for this peom...It says so much so beautifully... I read it out loud from the very start. It made me HAPPY. I am getting ready to read it again right now
Posted 08/01/2014 02:13 PM
"God in his glass-bottomed boat"...love the playful images! Just read to my sports and business minded husband and he smiled during the reading and proclaimed "I love that one".
You have inspired me to write as I sit in the green mist of the eastern Sierra's.
Also have to make a visit to Hickory, if the coffee is as good as the poetry...
Posted 08/01/2014 09:56 AM
Excellent poem of place, Scott. Yes, a few images seem southern (love those pecans) and true to your place, but it also allows me to apply much of this to the Midwest. Thanks for an inspiring poem. I needed that!
Posted 08/01/2014 08:38 AM
Posted 08/01/2014 04:42 AM
Love this one, though the details of flora and fauna don't apply to Wisconsin. A real August feeling.
Posted 07/31/2014 11:23 PM