In Summer Time
Paul Laurence Dunbar – 1872-1906
(The author of numerous collections of poetry and prose; he was one of the first African American poets to gain national recognition.)
When summer time has come, and all The world is in the magic thrall Of perfumed airs that lull each sense To fits of drowsy indolence; When skies are deepest blue above, And flow'rs aflush,—then most I love To start, while early dews are damp, And wend my way in woodland tramp Where forests rustle, tree on tree, And sing their silent songs to me; Where pathways meet and pathways part,— To walk with Nature heart by heart, Till wearied out at last I lie Where some sweet stream steals singing by A mossy bank; where violets vie In color with the summer sky,— Or take my rod and line and hook, And wander to some darkling brook, Where all day long the willows dream, And idly droop to kiss the stream, And there to loll from morn till night— Unheeding nibble, run, or bite— Just for the joy of being there And drinking in the summer air, The summer sounds, and summer sights, That set a restless mind to rights When grief and pain and raging doubt Of men and creeds have worn it out; The birds' song and the water's drone, The humming bee's low monotone, The murmur of the passing breeze, And all the sounds akin to these, That make a man in summer time Feel only fit for rest and rhyme. Joy springs all radiant in my breast; Though pauper poor, than king more blest, The tide beats in my soul so strong That happiness breaks forth in song, And rings aloud the welkin blue With all the songs I ever knew. O time of rapture! time of song! How swiftly glide thy days along Adown the current of the years, Above the rocks of grief and tears! 'Tis wealth enough of joy for me In summer time to simply be.