Yesterday, June 24, was Midsummer, the day the English celebrate by burning ceremonial fires. I was carrying a box of photo albums to the attic, when I heard an odd noise. At first I thought our black cat Athena was playing with a squeaky toy, and then I realized that she had a tiny bird that must have escaped from the nest on the other side of a room air conditioner. I picked up the cat and locked her in the basement and called my daughters who discovered the baby bird in a corner. She survived the night (we’re feeding her dry dog food mashed with water). She doesn’t look like the sparrows in the ash tree outside the window; she’s a lot younger and she is dark with a yellow mouth, like a starling. I’m thinking of Midsummer Night’s Dream and of Barbara Pym’s wonderful The Sweet Dove Died, which recalls, of course, John Keats’s sonnet that begins “I had a dove and the sweet dove died,” and I am hoping our little bird that we call Phoenix grows up enough to fly.–Maureen
If you’d like to read some poems on Midsummer, go to www.poets.org, the fabulous site of the Academy of American Poets, and type in “Midsummer” in the search box.