“End of Summer Night”


End of Summer Night

You wept last night as you slept.
Your body did not heave, rather
reverberated, like a stream, whose
flow, in summer, channels beneath its
dust-greyed rockface, or that low
thunder that can sometimes be heard distantly
all hot day long, though
it was a cold night, a night
when summer suddenly
ended, and as I lay my arm over the warm
tremor of your ribs, a part of me, a very small selfish
part, wanted to reach down to the greater
heat of your loins (the alertness of
your cock, dreaming, still such a
phenomenon to
me) but you wept as
you slept, you who weep
so rarely, and in my alarm
and basic humanity, and sudden
worry too at the part
any loin-touching might play
in that mime of loss that ran through you as
hard as anything waking–what end, whose
end–I held you, my
hand not moving from your dream-sorrowed
heart, the cold from the North window
streaming over my face now
clear of the blanket, until,
still seemingly asleep, you clasped
that hand on your chest, held it
for a long long time, and I was
glad it was there,
so glad.


The above is my offering for dVerse Poets Pub Poetics prompt which I am hosting today. The prompt is basically the dog days of summer. Do check it out – there’s a great picture of Pearl with a Zucchini, and check out all the wonderful poems at dVerse.

I am also linking up to the Open Link Night of Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads.ย 

Also, if you haven’t yet, do check out MY BOOKS! Poetry, GOING ON SOMEWHERE, (by Karin Gustafson, illustrated by Diana Barco). 1 Mississippi -counting book for lovers of rivers, light and pachyderms, or Nose Dive, a very fun novel that is perfect for a pool or beachside escape.

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64 Comments on ““End of Summer Night””

  1. Mary Says:

    Just beautiful. I could feel every emotional line of this poem. Perfection!

  2. Very vivid, very powerful in its emotions. Sad, lovely andt very beautiful.

  3. This is very touching – those final lines especially, given the thought process described in the build up.

  4. Laurie Kolp Says:

    Really nice. Hmm… I wonder where he/she put that hand next…

  5. brian miller Says:

    wow k…this is really moving…the need, even though they are asleep…and weeping…the fondling of the member, or not makes this real to me…seriously feel like i just watched a scene from a movie, def feels real…

  6. Ummmmmm… Hi Miss Manic….. If this was supposed to go to my personal inbox, well, um, I just wanted to let you know that you accidentally posted it on the whole internet….. That’s ok, really, that’s ok…. I’m not shy, or anything…. It’s just that I’m sort of wondering, well, I mean that wasn’t me last night, I’m still in Kentucky. So does that mean, like, you’re sleeping with some other guy? And what, you thought that I would take the news best by reading it on the open internet???? OMG, I’m crushed. You couldn’t have called? Or had the decency to send me a dear John letter? Of course I’m joking… I’m not really big on sex so i don’t know how to critique your poem… except to say that when I have trouble sleeping I give it a few tugs too…. LOL! Sweet dreams dearest… I’ll be thinking of you tonight…..!

  7. Archna Says:

    Lovely, I like how this piece progresses with such disparity and wondering thoughts. I was relieved for the comfort of sudden movement in the end. Love the looming photo. Thanks for the prompt!

  8. janehewey Says:

    the sleeping, quietly weeping man with body alive and ready, even though unconscious, is deeply evocative and a brilliant metaphor for summer’s end. you made me blush and shift around in my chair a bit. I am happy to come out of the woods and vacationing to find this piece. it feels like the beginning of longer story. beautiful.

  9. I love this line: “tremor of your ribs, a part of me, a very small selfish” … In my head, a “selfish” (cell-fish) is an ocean creature inside your soul. ๐Ÿ™‚

    What a beautiful ending:
    “still seemingly asleep, you clasped
    that hand on your chest, held it
    for a long long time, and I was
    glad it was there,
    so glad.”

    What a powerful tug-of-war the heart and body play.

  10. pmwanken Says:

    NIce — from those opening lines I held my breath, clear til the end when I sighed with relief that yes, the hand was there.

  11. Karin, this is so intense…you drag us into a strong emotional response and left me, at least, with a sense of impending loss–loss of summer and perhaps more.

    Thanks for the feedback on the photo I used for mind. I love receiving those kinds of insights and critique as well…especially since the critique group I frequented has just dissolved.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Hi Victoria – it is a cool photo, but quite violent, while I thought your poem talks of anger and flare-ups – irritation- but not violence per se. Thanks for your graciousness. k.

  12. Susan Says:

    I am moved by the deep description of the weeping, the desire, the choice of empathy so amply rewarded–but mostly remembering how it feels to be warm and naked and awake next to one sleeping and weeping, more naked than naked, whose tremors I always want to feel. You know, because you wrote this, how the spirit fills.

  13. Mohana Says:

    Beautiful emotions…and at the end, peace, contentment…

  14. Karin, thanks for this prompt. It took us in all directions.

    You write so unselfconsciously about sex; I admire that. But that final line about his holding your hand as he slept, and also his weeping, touched me. Beautiful work. Peace, Amy

  15. Almost erotic with unleashed passion – but detours into a sensitive deep moment!

  16. Very intimate and emotional… touching write.

  17. hobgoblin2011 Says:

    excellent write. Took me by surprise there for a second, but everything here was done so well. Love the ending, very touching, and overall, this is one of those pieces that can be used to prove to the non-believers, that poetry truly is an art form. Great read. Thanks

  18. Claudia Says:

    hey k. think that is my fav by yours i’ve read so far…such lingering emotions..so moving..such slow procession..slow enough to make us feel every fiber of feelings hanging in the air..very good piece

  19. David King Says:

    This is deeper and more profound than a poem about summer. This goes right to the heart of what it is to be human. Tremendous.

  20. Emotional exploration of real intimacy with all it’s messy mix of feelings and hidden moments that have to be when love keeps

  21. jenneandrews Says:

    Beautifully, lyrically resonant for me, Karin– for some reason I had a tough time summoning forth any praise for summer…. love the humanity and lyricism of your poem: You wept last night as you slept.
    Your body did not heave, rather
    reverberated, like a stream, whose
    flow, in summer, channels beneath its
    dust-greyed rockface, or that low
    thunder that can sometimes be heard distantly
    all hot day long,

    xxxj http://parolavivace.blogspot.com

  22. I got the feeling this was the last night of a summer romance? Beautiful write, even if I got it wrong. Very real and moving piece, K.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks. That’s interesting. Not intended that way, but always good to know what people think, as it would be easy enough to add something about “even after years” somewhere! Thanks for checking in. k.

  23. Luke Prater Says:

    I enjoy the rawness and grit of your poetry, and the jagged yet free-flowing structure. Could do with a stanza-break or two, but it’s great stuff

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ah, yes, that’s a very good suggestion. I was working very quickly because of hosting the dVerse Prompt – I never seem to have enough time to do the prompt and my own poem – or at least I don’t get to do them ahead–so kind of rushed–but I think you are absolutely right in that. k.

      • I am often torn between letting a poem run together, forcing the reader to figure it all out (which I personally love doing, from a reader’s standpoint) … or breaking it up as I intend it to be read. There’s something exciting about hiding my intentions rather than making them clear. What do you think? Break it up, or smash it together? ๐Ÿ™‚

      • ManicDdaily Says:

        I tend to go for clarity almost always. I find it hard enough to communicate – there’s so much space for unintentional misunderstanding of lack of understanding – that I never try to consciously obscure something or to make it more difficult for a reader. (This is one reason I’m so big on punctuation – I want people to see exactly where I mean for pauses to be taken.) That said, I think that if you’re trying to recreate something or go for something more subtle or bring out some music you are going to introduce some gaps – and it will become much harder to follow. I may cut or jump too to make some feeling more powerful and not beat it into the ground (as is my wont), but from my point of view, clarity is all important. I know a lot of people disagree and they don’t care if they can’t follow on a line by line basis, but I like the idea that a reader should be able to follow, if they wanted to try. k.

      • I need to work on that. My mind sees things as I write that I want other people to be able to see if their mind happens to work that way (most don’t). So if adding line breaks/punctuation might make it difficult for unintentional meaning to peek through, then I skip it (making intentional meaning harder to see). It’s like slap-happy splatter painting, really. You may be able to see an image or two … but without any meaning at all, you can just enjoy the view. Yet, whatever meaning I did envision often gets completely lost. I really do need to work on being less abstract. I’m probably the only one who enjoys it. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • ManicDdaily Says:

        That’s not true at all. Your work is really popular and wonderful (and I enjoy it). And there are lots of readers who seem to be happy to get the feeling of a meaning, or some sense of it, without a precise idea of where each line goes. (I don’t put that down.) But I prefer the idea of specificity, I guess, maybe because I’m really a prose writer and not a poet at all. k.

      • I think you’re a fantastic poet! And I hate “long” poetry. If I see a poem that’s six lines or less, I get so excited. But you are one of the very few who writes medium to long poems that I love. You have a keen ear for sound, and you are also one of the few poets who knows how to advantageously use line breaks to create sub-poetry within a poem. And you create your own art accompaniment. ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. kelly Says:

    This is lovely, speaking of true love and the way we sometimes sacrifice our own wants/needs to protect the other person. Really moving and true to life.

  25. hedgewitch Says:

    Sad and beautiful love poems are my favorites, and you ring all the bells with this one, k–human, deep, and full of the complex flavors of mature love mixed with all we come to know of mortality and change. A very fine deep indigo mood, painted with a sprinkling of silver stars.

  26. kolembo Says:

    That’s breathless. You’re fantastic. Those first two lines – so sure of themselves…

  27. ds Says:

    Oh, so beautiful, so sad. The end of summer in so many ways. Just gorgeous. Thank you (and thank you for the prompt as well).

  28. zongrik Says:

    your relationship is expressed so deeply here

    street rubbish

  29. Anonymous Says:

    That was a nice expression of love. ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. ds Says:

    Many thanks for fixing that link. Know what I did wrong; won’t happen again (she hopes).

  31. Mama Zen Says:

    This is really beautiful!

  32. danadampier Says:

    I love how real this is… the whole thought process!

  33. clawfish Says:

    An honest and real read that touched on many emotions

  34. kkkkaty Says:

    It’s been so many years now that your words brought to life what I have almost forgotten…how it is to share life with someone..especially one who reciprocates..the photo enhances it beautifully..

  35. I did not find this poem to be erotic. It is an intimate sad love poem.The man is is troubled by unsettling thoughts buried in sleep and his beloved comforts and gives him solace

  36. Grace Says:

    Sorry I missed writing to this prompt K ~ I read it in one go, and I like how your hand soothed and comforted the man who is weeping ~ Beautifully written ~

  37. Sugel Says:

    This time of year, everyone I know has zucchini and summer squash coming out of their ears. I bought a boat load of them at the farmers market hoping to make them into these Zucchini Chips from Traditional Foods (check out all the recipes they have for zucchini). I was crunched for time and kitchen space this last week so didnโ€™t get to them but I still needed to use up all those lovelies. Iโ€™ve seen a few different recipes for stuffed zucchini/summer squash and thought a taco boat would be wonderful. We had this for dinner last night and used 5 summer squashes to feed 8 people. Iโ€™ll be honest, the grown ups loved them, 2 kids thought they were ok and 2 kids claimed they were allergic to summer squash because they said it would make them throw up. Stinkers.

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