My first midsummer evenings in the north
I guessed it had to be a nightingale
that quavered somewhere in the midnight dusk
because its trilling, like accepting sighs
or conversations about stolen years,
matched Philomela’s story in my mind.
You said that summer here would likely cease
without this emblematic melody,
that summer in these northern climes is brief
and has to carry life for all the year.
And maybe that’s why traces of this strain
are carried faintly in the Nordic tongues:
you northern people speak the blackbird’s song,
holding summer near throughout the year.
Darius Degher’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Measure, Agenda, Smiths Knoll, Other Poetry, Red Wheelbarrow, Poetry Salzburg Review, and other (mostly UK) magazines. He is a Californian living in Sweden, where he teaches writing at Malmö University. He is the editor of Shipwrights, an online journal for second-language English authors.