|The Green Man or Oak King of Midsummer.|
Two years ago Father’s Day fell on June 21, which was Summer Solstice. Such calendar coincidences move me to the commission of poetry like a prune juice and X-Lax smoothie facilitates an explosive bowl movement. Depending on your outlook the results may be equally as messy and disgusting.
This year Solstice falls on Wednesday. Some ancient peoples marked the occasion with such astonishing precision involving monoliths, mounds, and monuments that it has enabled a basic cable cottage industry of pseudo-science documentaries speculating about aliens. But for many others, the precise date was hard to pin down. Changes to the length of day were too subtle to be measured precisely. Instead they spread out the celebration over a cluster of days under various names. Modern Pagans, who have made up a lot of stuff to fill in the gaps of what is known call those days Litha after and old Anglo-Saxon name for a summer month. Taken together the various pre-christian celebrations are often lumped together as Midsummer, as good a name as any.
Was Father’s day, at least subconsciously set in spitting distance of Midsummer if not on the precise day? Probably not. But there are those who say that there is no such thing as pure coincidence. Call it kismet or serendipity, it was enough to set my head spinning and impel my fingers on the keyboard.
Summer Solstice/Father’s Day
June 21, 2015
Perhaps, after all, I am the Green Man,
and by Father before me
who took to the woods with rod and rifle
and his father before him
who grew strawberries by the porch
and the fathers before him
who were orchard men in Ohio
and back to those earlier yet
who pulled stones from Yorkshire fields
for their masters.
Save the complexion, I look the part enough
with shaggy goatee, wild eyebrows,
and neglected hair which could sprout
oak and ivy.
But my wild forest years are well behind me,
I plant nothing but my feet on the sidewalk
and my butt in a desk chair,
I raise nothing but questions, concerns,
my fertility was snipped away
long decades past
my virility—don’t make me laugh,
no Goddess awaits in a glade
under the triumphant Sun.
Perhaps I am not the Green Man after all
just an old fool and fraud,
but, hey, isn’t that all that is needed
to be just Dad instead.
|As a new Dad with Maureen in Chicago, 1983|