Summer Solstice

Oyster River Farm, Durham, New Hampshire, June 21, 2017

by Rodger Martin

The Arctic sun casts a glow southward.
The rays angle between trunks of tall pine,
shrouded druids, to splay on this lawn
where each being reaches back unbroken
to that first breath. A hermit thrush echoes
into this apogee which celebrates
the prodigal sun’s return. How he bathes
this earth in green and lets the family feast
in its greeting. The long light warms the heart,
nurtures constitutions for native desires
supple like white birch, strong like seasoned oak,
knowing the profligate sun must travel.
It’s the way of children. The families know
what the families must: Welcome, let them come
so they return to once again find home
and then, hide the ache and . . . let them go.


Commissioned for John Ahlgren, June 2017

Summer Solstice, Poetry Bridging Continents III: A Selection of the Chinese and American New Pastoral Poems, p. 7, Yancheng Teachers Univ., PRC, November 2019.


Rodger Martin’s third poetry volume The Battlefield Guide, published by Hobblebush Books, uses locations on battlefields of the Civil War to reflect upon America today. Small Press Review selected his chapbook The Blue Moon Series (Hobblebush Books) as its bi-monthly pick of the year. A translation of his work On The Monadnock appeared in China in 2006. His new book of poems For All The Tea in Zhōngguó (Hobblebush Books) is in two languages.