Summer at North Farm

By Stephen Kuusisto b. 1955 Stephen Kuusisto

Finnish rural life, ca. 1910

Fires, always fires after midnight,
the sun depending in the purple birches

and gleaming like a copper kettle.
By the solstice they’d burned everything,

the bad-luck sleigh, a twisted rocker,
things “possessed” and not-quite-right.

The bonfire coils and lurches,
big as a house, and then it settles.

The dancers come, dressed like rainbows
(if rainbows could be spun),

and linking hands they turn
to the melancholy fiddles.

A red bird spreads its wings now
and in the darker days to come.

Stephen Kuusisto, “Summer at North Farm” from Only Bread Only Light. Copyright © 2000 by Stephen Kuusisto. Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.

Source: Poetry (August 1989).

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This poem originally appeared in the August 1989 issue of Poetry magazine

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August 1989
 Stephen  Kuusisto

Biography

Stephen Kuusisto was born in Exeter, New Hampshire. Blind since birth, he attended Hobart College where he earned a BA and the University of Iowa, where he earned an MFA. He is the author of Only Bread, Only Light: Poems (2000) and the award-winning memoir, Planet of the Blind. Kuusisto has received a number of awards and honors ranging from a poetry fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council and a Fulbright fellowship to a . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Animals

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