My friend and schoolmate, John Marquand, was writing poems before I knew what to do with a pencil. While I was playing football, Johnny was putting his heart on paper and getting published.
Our senior high English teacher saw his potential and submitted some of John’s poems to a magazine that published the best of Missouri high school poetry. He got three poems accepted, including one on the cover.
He went off to the University of Missouri, where he took some writing classes, and met some real, live poets. He was influenced by Weldon Kees, an undervalued and underappreciated poet from the 20th Century.
I got to read a few of his poems when we were back in school together. They inspired me even then.
While John is now concentrating on nature photography, he is still a poet at heart.
His pen name is Quill. He’s got a bit of Weldon Kees in him. But he is his own poet.
Late Summer’s Sun
Late summer’s sun has baked the grass to brown.
The days grow shorter with each passing day,
Soon, autumn’s chill will make the leaves fall down.
All of this aching beauty will decay.
And yet I love the shadows’ slanting trace,
The once green grain gone golden in its rows,
And how I love the lines etched in your face.
It’s funny, as love ripens how it grows.
The number of our days we do not know.
No sleeper knows if he will ever wake.
So come, let’s join above, between, below.
My dear, let’s cause our fragile clay to quake.
Let us make love as if it’s our last go.
Let us embrace like dawn will never break.
NOTES: It’s not really late summer yet, but it feels like it. It has been hot and dry, giving us the sense of late August when July hasn’t even ended.
The seasons seen to come and go more quickly of late. Perhaps I’m paying closer attention. Perhaps I realize more summers now lie behind me than still ahead.
Something in the air caused me to pull this sonnet out of the vault today. I snapped the photo on my late afternoon walk.