Sunday, September 20, 2015

Song at Summer's End / A.R.D. Fairburn

Song at Summer's End

Down in the park the children play
rag-happy through the summer day
with dirty feet and freckled faces,
laughing, fighting, running races.
Dull against the smoky skies
the summer's heavy burden lies,
leaden leaves on tired trees
lacking supple limbs like these.

The skyline shows the shape of life,
tomorrow's world of sweat and strife,
fifty stacks and one grey steeple.
Down the street come factory people,
folk who used to play on swings,
dodging chores and apron-strings
to wrestle on the grass and run
barefoot with the fleeting sun.

Some of the kids are sailing boats;
the first leaf drops unheeded, floats
and dances on the muddy pond.
Shadows from the world beyond
lengthen, sprawl across the park;
day rolls onward towards the dark.
From the clock-tower, wreathed in smoke,
Time speaks gravely, stroke on stroke.

A.R.D. Fairburn (1904-1957), 1947
from Strange Rendezvous: Poems, 1929-1941, with additions, 1952

[poem is in the public domain in Canada]

A.R.D. Fairburn biography

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