In Summer, in a burst of summertime
Following falls and falls of rain,
When the air was sweet-and-sour of the flown fineflower of
Those goldnails and their gaylinks that hang along a lime;
~Gerard Manley Hopkins from “Cheery Beggar”
Open the window, and let the air
Freshly blow upon face and hair,
And fill the room, as it fills the night,
With the breath of the rain’s sweet might.
Nought will I have, not a window-pane,
‘Twixt me and the air and the great good rain,
Which ever shall sing me sharp lullabies;
And God’s own darkness shall close mine eyes;
And I will sleep, with all things blest,
In the pure earth-shadow of natural rest.
~James Henry Leigh Hunt from “A Night-Rain in Summer”
Sweet and sour extends far beyond a Chinese menu;
it is the daily air I breathe.
I am but a cheery beggar in this summer world,
hanging tight to the sweetness of each glorious moment
yet knowing it cannot last:
the startling twilight gold of a July rain,
the intense green of thirsty fields,
a rainbow suspended in misty haze,
the clouds racing to win the day’s finish line.
But as beggars aren’t choosers,
sweet rain ruins hay harvest
and berries turn to mold on the vine.
The sky stooping to kiss the earth
may bring mud and flood.
I breathe deeply now of petrichor:
the scent of raindrops falling on dry land
as if I could wear it like perfume
on those sour days of drought.