SUMMER EVENING for Stanley Cook
Every summer comes an opaque evening
before the beach is filed in a wallet of snaps
and leaves give themselves to relighting autumn;
dusk looks forward to night and goes hungry.
It's brisk in BQ and the garden centre's night-scented colours
are loaded in backs of estates. And in parks
that saw offices undress for lunchtime tans
lads roam the pitch in the wake of the World Cup,
wood after deliberate wood finds a path in its own curve to the jack.
Everywhere is couples, and the pushchairs
that make sense of the season next year or the next;
pubs spill out into continental tables laughing
like it might last. Swans on a river
and a row boat moored for Wordsworth's
midnight second-self: the sunstruck summer
between English rain bewilders you in my place.
The lawn needs a trim. The red v at dad's throat
reminds me he can't speak any more than you,
as if people, once dead, just wandered out
and never gave us another thought, in this
long muggy twilight, poised as it is
on the brink of decline into repletion,
harvest to be chilled, tinned, pressed,
as if we could keep it that way.