Saturday, June 7, 2008

Vivaldi's "Summer"

[This continues the series of sonnets Antonio Vivaldi wrote to accompany & explain each of his "Four Seasons" concertos.]

In a harsh season burned by the sun,
Man and flock languish,
And the pine tree is scorched;
The cuckoo unleashes its voice, and soon
We hear the songs of the turtle-dove and the goldfinch.

Sweet Zephyr* blows, but Boreas** suddenly
Opens a dispute with his neighbor;
And the shepherd laments his fate,
For he fears a fierce squall is coming.

His weary limbs are robbed of rest
By his fear of fierce thunder and lightning
And by the furious swarm of flies and blowflies.

Alas, his fears are only too real:
The sky fills with thunder and lightning,
And hailstorms hew off the heads of proud cornstalks.

*A sweet, gently warm west wind
**A cold, fierce north wind (in large, flat countries, the collision of these two can brew tornadoes)

[obviously, Vivaldi was not a big fan of summer]


Susan Westwood said...


I love, love love this blog! The poetry you share is gorgeous, sensual, illuminating.

Thanks for the explanatory notes

C. Marie Byars said...

Thanks for the encouragement. Glad you like it. I'm glad that you, too, see there is a very valid Christian sensualism. Gerard Manley Hopkins was all about that!