Poems for Summer

Carolyn Coons

The idea of summer may conjure a salty ocean breeze, the feel of hot pavement on bare feet, or, in my case, the siren call of a Mister Softee ice cream truck. Whatever sights, sounds, smells, and tastes the season evokes for you, we hope you will find something familiar in the summer-inspired poems featured below. Be sure to let us know your favorite on Twitter @NEAarts!

corn field in the sun

Photo by Jake Gard via Unsplash. 

"Into the rooms flow meadow airs,/ The warm farm baking smell’s blown round./ Inside and out, and sky and ground/ Are much the same..."

"Country Summer" by Léonie Adams

fireflies in a glen

Photo by Toan Phan via Unsplash

"Sometimes/ in the park/ in the near dark// one comes out/ you'll hear/ a little kid shout// Lightning bug! Firefly!"

"Firefly" by Jacqueline Woodson


Photo by Kate Tandy via Unsplash

"A sudden guffaw; some giggles; a woman’s—no, a/ young girl’s—sarcastic reply; someone’s assertion; a/ high-pitched male cackle."

"Nostalgia (The Lake at Night)" by Lloyd Schwartz 

New York City street

Photo by Toa Heftiba by Unsplash

"Uncles tipple wine on the streets of Mott and Bayard./ Night shifts meet day shifts in passing.// Sweat seasons the body that labors.// And in each noodle shop, bowls dusted with salt."

"Chinatown Diptych" by Jenny Xie


Photo by Nick Sarro via Unsplash

"Late August, given heavy rain and sun/ For a full week, the blackberries would ripen./ At first, just one, a glossy purple clot/ Among others, red, green, hard as a knot."

"Blackberry-Picking" by Seamus Heaney

porch with blue door

Photo by Luke van Zyl via Unsplash

"Adrift in the liberating, late light/ of August, delicate, frivolous,/ they make their way to my front porch/ and flutter near the glassed-in bulb..."

"Moths" by Jennifer O'Grady

Path through garden

Photo by Tim Cooper via Unsplash

"Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?/ Thou art more lovely and more temperate:/ Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,/ And summer’s lease hath all too short a date"

"Sonnet 18" by William Shakespeare

blue swing in the sunset

Photo by Kaleb Kendall via Unsplash

"There is a time, seconds between/ the last light and the dark stretch ahead, when color/ is lost — the girl on her swing becomes a swift/ apparition, black and white flowing suddenly into night."

"The World in the Evening" by Rachel Sherwood