Poem of the Week: Summer by Alexander McCall Smith

  20 Jul '21   |  Posted by: Birlinn

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.

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. 
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