June: A Sonnet

By Henry Allen | June 13, 2019
Tambako The Jaguar/Flickr
Tambako The Jaguar/Flickr

When I say “June,” the word evokes different memories and emotions than when I say “October.” Over the course of my career, I’ve written about a range of feelings—relief, despair, the hope and horror of love—in poetry, reporting, and prose. As part of a yearlong series for the Scholar, each month I am contributing a new poem to a sonnet cycle, marking the changing seasons in the rhyme and meter of an Elizabethan verse.


We’re swine befuddled by the pearls of June:
Deft brush of bridal gowns, cool light, bare feet;
the grass-stain love beneath a clean, clean moon,
the saintly woods, the confidence of wheat,
old rivers ponderous and debonair
beneath transparent cliffs of fireflies.
Such graduations! Life becomes a dare,
arrays of destiny crowd endless skies.
At last, the daisies give their answer: “Do.”
You don’t, it’s all too much, the mighty dawns,
the possibilities, the real you
undone while dew sifts light on morning lawns.
O green Jerusalem, as prophesied!
But strange: June leads the year in suicide.

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