Goodbye Summer: Poems by Derek Walcott and Zbigniew Herbert

The bitter end of summer. The sun, predictably leaving us, yet still cruelly, like a lover we're not yet ready to relinquish. Selfish, narcissistic, too confident we'll be waiting. Wiser than us. Leaving a fire behind, now only waiting to go out as we struggle to prematurely forget, all too ready to throw our overwhelming feelings to the wind. The sun should have turned them to ash on his way out. We have not yet stopped loving when love suddenly ends. In love there is no permanence. The sun knows, more than us, we cannot hold on to anything. He must establish the rhythm we can handle. Death of summer. Our love. Our former selves. We learn to adjust, adapt and even love again. We will make do, learn to enjoy ourselves, until the sun will do as it wishes, and once again scorches us. Til then, farewell.

DARK AUGUST by Derek Walcott

So much rain, so much life like the swollen sky
of this black August. My sister, the sun,
broods in her yellow room and won't come out.

Everything goes to hell; the mountains fume
like a kettle, rivers overrun; still,
she will not rise and turn off the rain.

She is in her room, fondling old things,
my poems, turning her album. Even if thunder falls
like a crash of plates from the sky,

she does not come out.
Don't you know I love you but am hopeless
at fixing the rain ? But I am learning slowly

to love the dark days, the steaming hills,
the air with gossiping mosquitoes,
and to sip the medicine of bitterness,

so that when you emerge, my sister,
parting the beads of the rain,
with your forehead of flowers and eyes of forgiveness,

all with not be as it was, but it will be true
(you see they will not let me love
as I want), because, my sister, then

I would have learnt to love black days like bright ones,
The black rain, the white hills, when once
I loved only my happiness and you.

Dance on the shore by Edvard Munch

FAREWELL by Zbigniew Herbert

The moment has come we have to say farewell
after the migration of birds the sudden migration of greenness
the end of summer - a banal subject for solo guitar

I live now on the slope of a hill
the entire length of the wall is a window so I see exactly
the dense fur of osiers naked willows this is my shore

everything develops in horizontal hands - the lazy river
the other high shore steeply dropping down
reveals at last what had to be admitted

clay sand limestone patches of humus
and a now meager forest of weeping forest

I am happy that is devoid of illusions
the sun appears briefly but in return gives
grandiose spectacles when it goes down somewhat in
Nero's taste

I am calm it is time to say farewell
our bodies have put on the color of earth