This poem captures the calm of a perfect summer day – how the sky and sea are so still that time seems to have permanently stopped. This moment-out-of-time becomes a prayer for the future, for a loved-one, and for the enduring memory of this moment shared. It is one of a quartet of seasonal poems from Alexander McCall Smith’s first book of poetry In a Time of Distance.
SUMMER Alexander McCall Smith Rewarded now with summer calm, Two lovers lie upon a Scottish hill Beneath a sky that deepest blue Bereft of limit to its end; Oh, listen now, my dearest one To all the things I’d wish for you: A hundred lovely days like this, A sun that lingers, hardly sets And evenings that are barely dark, The briefest pause before the dawn. Behind them as he speaks these words, The slow currents of the Sound of Mull Move past the island’s shores; There is so much to love in this country, When it is like this, and is at peace, When its crouching hills Are the guardians of these hidden glens Where heather and Scots pines Remind us of evenings past When the world was less a place of wrong, When love, not distrust, was the key In which the nations sang their song. May soft winds blow about your head, May sun caress your tender cheeks, May tears of gentle rain then wash The marks of fretful care away; May you remember from this day Good resolutions and great plans, Our promises once made believed, The sharing of our private hopes, In letters that are signed with love, With secret names, with pencilled signs.