When the cuckoo changes its tune, it’s June,
The month with the longest afternoon,
When the golden hour will last an hour,
And the floral clocks are forever in flower –
It’s hardly worth the daisies to close
When a good night’s sleep is barely a doze,
And the nightingales must rush their glee
Till the sparrows fart at the crack of three.
She was born at Solsticetide,
And so they named her Summer –
Blond and bright and beautiful,
And all the Spring a comer.
But once the longest day was done,
She felt the nights draw in,
Just waiting for the Winter low
To let the next begin.
Now I will barely notice how
The evenings have crept,
Until the clocks have messed about
To show how dusk has leapt.
But then, she saw a greater change
Than I, from day to day,
For she grew up in Lerwick town
And I down Jersey way.
June is full of unexpected flowers –
We shouldn’t be surprised at such,
We know these buds exist in theory,
But we never think of them that much.
I don’t mean roses or hydrangeas,
Where the blooms are solely why they’re bought –
But rather in the offhand places
Where the flowers are an afterthought –
The lively sprays of privet blossom, say,
Or potato’s multi-coloured spawn,
Or dead-nettles with snakeheads raised,
And teasing frills of clover on the lawn.
For ev’ry showy thug like bindweed,
There’s small-and-many thyme and poison ivy –
Where oxeyes lord it over the daisies,
The plantain spikes are defiantly lively.
A shock of yellow in the verges,
Wastelands looking oddly brisk and bright,
And brambles showing their softer side,
While shy little sundews and chickweeds fleck with white.
They don’t do it for us of course,
These unassuming emissaries –
And we’ll forget, then be surprised again
By the Autumn’s unexpected berries.
A Blackthorn Easter falls in March,
When Easter seems to come too soon –
But when it’s April, then we see
An Appleblossom Easter bloom –
And when it’s late, we celebrate
A Cherry Easter at its boom –
When leafless boughs are full of flowers,
Sprung from out of Winter’s tomb.
What can this madness be ?
April Fools ?
Ah yes, the day of anarchy
(Strictly by the rules).
Oh, what an almost-clever parody –
Let me laugh at such hilarity:
Hee. Hee. Hee.
Well don’t I feel a tit,
And there was I expecting wit –
I guess the joke’s on me.
Who would have thought it, a glorious moment in March !
The sun arrives early to soften the lingering starch.
Our sensible shoes might be slackened, though hardly unlaced –
And coats are unbuttoned – but still being worn, just in case.
For this is, we know, but a splinter
In the long flank of Winter.
What should we call it – an Indian summer in March ?
The trees are caught napping, the indolent rowan and larch.
Our Febru’ry faces are cautiously risking a smile.
But still we shall carry umbrellas – it’s only a trial !
For this is, we know, but a glinter
Before the blackthorn Winter.
The Twenty-Ninth came round today
It’s years since last she passed my way,
But on my birthday, there she was –
Alas, she couldn’t stay.
But that’s because that’s what she does –
She rarely comes to play.
I shrug, and try to not get sad –
For oh, when she does appear,
It always makes a special year,
Like an Olympiad.
It’s not a proper birthday, I might add,
When she’s not here.
You come so soft, sweet Twenty-Ninth,
The sum of quarter-days –
You take unmissed those surplus whiles,
And solar-annual strays;
And whether you are bursting Spring
Or Winter’s final greys –
You come for free, or so it seems,
Through mathematic ways.
We owe it all to Julius,
Who’s clock the Earth obeys:
He holds in trust your orphan times,
And four years on, repays.