Wednesday Poetry Break: Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn

Well, enjoy the day Jelloheads — it’s officially the last day of summer. Here at the Jello Manse the temperature is predicted to top 90 degrees, so this summer will not go gently into that good night (sorry — too many poetry references here?).

Cicadas at the End of Summer

Whine as though a pine tree is bowing a broken violin,
As though a bandsaw cleaves a thousand thin sheets of
They chime like freight wheels on a Norfolk Southern
slowing into town.

But all you ever see is the silence.
Husks, glued to the underside of maple leaves.
With their nineteen fifties Bakelite lines they’d do
just as well hanging from the ceiling of a space
museum —

What cicadas leave behind is a kind of crystallized memory;
The stubborn detail of, the shape around a life turned

The color of forgotten things: a cold broth of tea & milk
in the bottom of a mug.
Or skin on an old tin of varnish you have to lift with
lineman’s pliers.
A fly paper that hung thirty years in Bird Cooper’s pantry
in Brighton.

— Martin Walls



  1. I’d gotten so used to the sound of the cicadas that I hadn’t realized they’d gone silent. Really like this one, thanks for finding the good ones for us!

  2. great poem, thanks!

    came down to boston of a sox/o’s game and it was 86 at game time! it was 90 when we went to a sox/yankees game in april, so the heat started early and has hung on. thankfully, the maine coast has stayed relatively sensible!

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