High temperatures in summer is no news most places. Except in Ireland, where if it gets much above 20C/65F, we swelter, broil, boil and fry. Partly, it has to do with living in northwest Ireland without a cloud of pollution overhead. The sun is particularly intense here. I have had more sunburns since moving here than anywhere else I have lived. That includes beach time at the Jersey shore in childhood. So it has been an interesting June watching our south-facing field fry in relentless sunshine, seeing the thermometer register 45C at 5pm one day.
So fire and dry heat has been a theme. We are now back to normal ‘good Irish summer’ temperatures in the low twenties, with humidity. I strongly suspect a poem on the theme of steam may emerge over this coming week.
The earth under my feet
is mostly made of peat.
We have been a month without rain,
since Whitsuntide at least.
The earth under my feet is cracking.
I could flake it. Snap off a chunk.
Set it alight. If anyone wanted to bother
burning some in the grate.
This summer’s sun is intense enough
to take a match to the bog.
The earth under my feet,
this rich, black gold,
is not yet smouldering, but
may burst into flame
any moment now.
Just exhaling could fan a flame.
Tongues of fire
will speak their pure language,
It’s a gift.
Later, many months later,
the birch will begin.
First one, then a sister sprouting
a twin, triplets,
a family of trees telling
the whole story, chapter by chapter.
Copyright © 2018 Bee Smith