The Last of Summer

The Last of Summer

The first of September, and the last of the English summer;
now the blackberries droop on their brambles, heavily sweet,
and birds mass on the humming lines like athletes lining up to race.
We wipe the dew from windscreens in the cobweb-heavy mornings.

Here ends a season dragged with clouds and lashed with soaking showers,
scant of picnicking and sunbathing and heatwaves spent on loungers.
Cheated of fetes and festivals, barbecues and beaches,
people pack away shorts and sandals in drawers and high cupboards,
shove airbeds and gazebos into garden sheds and garages.
School uniforms are hemmed and pressed and laid out for the new term.

Faces turning inwards towards TV screens and sofas
consider prematurely the serious work of autumn.
Electric light flicks on in every sitting-room and kitchen;
the nights, like the shedding hay wagons, intent on gathering in.