Summer Afternoon, a poem by Dale Adams at

Summer Afternoon

Summer Afternoon

written by: Dale Adams


I remember the trancelike stillness
of a late summer afternoon
walking across endless pastures of waist-high grass
broken by red-dirt canyons that ran for hundreds of yards
rows of huge cumulus clouds hanging
like oil paintings against a pale blue sky
a feeling of being completely alone
in a place where nothing ever really changes

feeling small among the wide-open spaces
scrounging about for secrets of the past
in the shadows of an old empty barn
whose rustlings whisper of creatures
seeking shelter from the august sun
the wood knot holed, dried out and grayed
from who knows how many seasons
of standing here alone, miles from anywhere

now and then, the peaceful silence would be pierced
by the rolling whine of eighteen wheelers, just passing through
pushing ninety miles an hour in this timeless place
the grass in the ditches waving wildly in their wakes
the slipstream, and those tall exhaust stacks
could be heard for miles, like double bass
and deep brass notes resonating across the emptiness
fading away as they topped the next hill

sometimes, in the furnace of the summer sky
the clouds boiled, climbed, spread out, blotting out the blue
turned dark and threatening as the wind grew restless
and a low rumble rolled across the landscape
the trees seemed to hold their breath
knowing what was coming and unable to run
a chill ran through the captive audience
as the orchestra in the clouds prepared to play its angry overture

suddenly the winds kick up clouds of dirt and hay
inside the old barn, the walls creak and groan
lightning blinds me, close enough to smell the burn
thunder explodes a split-second later
and the rain comes all at once, like a mad waterfall
leaking through the tattered roof in a dozen places
blowing through the wide doors in sheets
summer sings at full roar, and the world disappears

I wish I could go back there.

Latest posts by Dale Adams (see all)