Literary Hook: The beauty of Indian summers

One of the best things about living in the Midwest is Indian summer. It seems like nature’s last fling before its descent into winter.

Here is a poem that celebrates Indian summer. It is dedicated to Jane Kenyon, who wrote the famous poem, “Let Evening Come”—although the two poems have completely different tones and moods. I wrote “Let Indian Summer Come” a few years ago, and it is part of Who Walks Among the Trees with Charity, Wind Publications.

Indian Summer

Let Indian summer blaze though brown grass blades.

Let it ripple around all that is gold:

Field corn drying on stalks,

All the russet maiden grass on plains,

The amber seed heads of goldenrod and aster.

Let Indian Summer come.

Let it come burning the sun’s last hot rays

To the red pony’s black muddy hooves,

To the pink snouts of possums asleep behind logs,

To fuzzy fountain grasses swaying in prairies.

Let it slant down on blue spruce and white pine.

Let Indian Summer come.

Let it come whispering on tabby cat whiskers,

Tippling moss-coated trunks of maples,

Shimmering on small red crab apples in meadows,

Landing and looping with groups of cedar waxwings,

On their flight from Illinois to the South.

Let Indian Summer come.

Let it arc over Rock River bluffs and castle rocks,

Over every circling bird of prey.

Let it glint from the eagle’s chartreuse eye

And glimmer from the red hawk’s splayed tail.

Let it soar wide as a vulture’s wingspan.

Let Indian Summer come.

Let it come in full head dress, thundering.

Let it drum full color on leaves,

Rattling and shaking fall’s last tassels.

Let it shout. Let it whoop and whirl.

All creatures deserve one final dance in the sun.

So let Indian Summer come.

Christine Swanberg is a local author and poet who has written several books of poetry and formerly wrote a column called “The Writer’s Garret” for this newspaper.

from the Oct. 3, 2007, issue

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