Quiet pond morning in August,
Kayak gliding alongside the past:
A pine tree, now bare, reaches out
Over the shallow bay;
Summers ago our girls
Stood here to pose, then bravely splash
Into the warm, yellow-sand lake, ankle deep.
On the hill we used to climb
The craggy overlook socked in,
Growth of dense green years.
Just as well:
The view we loved now shows
Other hills laid bare for condos.
I paddle home
Against a fresh breeze;
Shoulders that have seen seventy summers
Pull against water heavy with time,
Past the cottages of my father’s friends.
It is surely not July,
High hazy sun, grandchildren jumping off the dock.
And not October,
Red and gold against evergreen hills,
Nor even September,
Whose yellowing ferns hint at what’s to come.
The last week in August is its own time,
Campers, tourists mostly gone,
Quiet on the pond:
The angle of the sun,
Cerulean light out of Canada,
Distant warmth on your back,
Walking past the meadow.
Late in August in New Hampshire—
What it tells you is this:
There’s still time,
But maybe not as much as you thought.
Robert Demaree is the author of four book-length collections of poems, including Other Ladders, published in June 2017 by Beech River Books. His poems received first place in competitions sponsored by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire and the Burlington Writers Club, and have appeared in over 150 periodicals. A retired educator, he resides in Wolfeboro, N.H. and Burlington, N.C.