This is the first of a series of seasonal poems by Susan Kinsolving, one of our most stalwart Voices in Verse, whose books include The White Eyelash, Dailies & Rushes (a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award) and Among Flowers. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and publications including The New York Times Book Review, Poetry, Yale Review, and The Paris Review. She has taught at numerous universities, including Bennington and CalArts. Several of her poems have been set to music and performed in the United States and abroad. Look here soon for an interview with Susan, whose words tonight fit perfectly with our rainy season.


Birds hush. A dense calm weights the air. Across
the steamy lawn, shadows darken. Branches
undulate with an ominous grace. Clouds
converge into friction. Over the hills,
thunder sounds, solemn bombs from a foreign
war. Sealing the sills, forcing the sashes
down, I move among my windows. Twelve-over
twelves are the uneven panes that light this
old Colonial; one farmer’s hand-hewn
fortress against the wickedness of New
England weather. And there, hanging on a peg,
is everything, though it is just a straw

hat, my daughter’s first hat. The pink grosgrain
streamers stir with the air. Touching the crown,
I can almost hold her head, so bright and new.
Caught in the interweaving of the brim
is one luminous strand, one hair of lightning.
(By a hair, I hold her so and let her go. . .)
Now the downpour comes. Faintly, I hear her
laughing, wanting to go outside, rattling
the doorknob. Three years old and eager for
atmosphere, she runs bareheaded toward
all the storms to come, believing the world’s
inclemencies are only playful ones.

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  • Dr Patricia Allen June 5, 2009 at 8:35 am

    My dear Susan,

    This beautiful poetic description of fearlessness that drove all of us into the storms of life in our youth speaks to me today as I find that in this stage of life the storms are once again inviting and exciting. I will think of this description as I run today without a hat right into the thunderclouds.

    Thank you for your gift to us.

    Patricia Yarberry Allen

  • Poetry Friday: Summer Storm « Elizabeth Willse June 5, 2009 at 7:57 am

    […] Look here soon for an interview with Susan, whose words today fit perfectly with our rainy season. Read her poem, Summer Storm, at Women’s Voices For Change. Published […]

  • Willse Elizabeth June 5, 2009 at 7:29 am

    Looking at the weather near me, this lovely poem seems oddly prescient for today.