Summertime (A sestina) – Poetry by Anne R. Kirchmier

Children Playing in a Garden – Pierre Bonnard

When the trees were in full flower,
I had what I would need:
a yard in which to play;
you, near to bear witness;
and Mom, smiling through the windows
as we sauntered in the sun.

Summer days in the bright sun;
gardens ablaze with every flower;
laughter flowing through open windows:
there was nothing more we’d ever need,
no tragedy we’d ever witness.
From dawn to dusk, our job was play.

We made up silly games to play
and rued each setting of the sun
as Mom stood by, an amused witness.
On stormy days, festooned in flour,
we gamely learned to mix and knead
as rain drummed the kitchen windows.

It was our job to shut the windows
when summer squalls meant indoor play.
Our made-up worlds met every need.
We didn’t mind waiting for the sun.
Ingenuity would flower
beyond what adults could witness:

Crimes divulged by Barbie, key witness;
bright fairies leaping through windows;
rags blossoming into flowers.
Our magic powers shaped our play.
Once, we morphed our neighbor’s sweet-eyed son
into a troll, hunched and knock-kneed.

We met each other’s every need:
partner, confessor, eye witness.
There was nothing under the sun—
nor hidden behind curtained windows—
that we couldn’t conjure up to play,
our fertile young minds all aflower.

We need to jimmy memory’s windows,
bear witness to our childhood play,
and thank the sun that made us flower.


About the Poet

Anne R. Kirchmier is an Episcopal priest serving in Newport News, Virginia.  Many years ago she taught middle school English in western Massachusetts, but it took the Covid-19 pandemic to draw her into her first-ever poetry class (on Zoom, of course).  She has so much to learn and looks forward to learning it!

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