“Midsummer” by Alfred Billings Street

by Ann Neilson

Midsummer
By Alfred Billings Street

An August day! a dreamy haze
Films air, and mingles with the skies,
Sweetly the rich dark sunshine plays,
Bronzing each object where it lies.
Outlines are melted in the gauze
That Nature veils; the fitful breeze
From the thick pine, low murmuring draws;
Then dies in flutterings midst the trees.
The bee is slumbering in the thistle,
And, now and then, a broken whistle
A tread—a hum—a tap—is heard
Through the dry leaves, in grass and bush,
As insect, animal, and bird
Rouse, brief from their lethargic hush.
Then, e’en these pleasant sounds would cease,
And a dead stillness all things lock,
The aspen seem like sculptured rock,
And not a tassel-thread be shaken
The monarch-pine’s deep trance to waken,
And Nature settle prone in drowsy peace.
The misty blue—the distant masses,
The air, in woven purple glimmering,
The shiver transiently that passes
Over the leaves, as though each tree
Gave one brief sigh—the slumberous shimmering
Of the red light—invested seem
With some sweet charm, that soft, serene,
Mellows the gold—the blue—the green
Into mild temper’d harmony,
And melts the sounds that intervene,
As scarce to break the quiet, till we deem
Nature herself transform’d to that of Fancy’s dream.