Posted by: Jonathan Caswell | August 20, 2011

BITTERSWEET CICADAS


BITTERSWEET CICADAS

It must be cicadas I hear

And raccoons and crickets each year…

Good mem’ries of days

And nights, August haze,

As a family spending two weeks out here.

In Douglas, Massachusetts, my Dad

Had built a little house on his land…

A cottage where we

Returned to see

The relatives, all that we had.

Our cottage started simply

With one bedroom, four walls and chimney…

For a bathroom, an outhouse,

For company, a mouse

That our cat, nearly blind, didn’t see.

In time, we graduated from a well

Hand-dug by my Dad in the dell…

With a bathroom installed,

Less buckets we hauled,

Water heated on the stove to break the chill.

For years it had no TV or phone

But with relatives around we weren’t alone…

Everything tasted fresh

Like the fish Dad would catch,

As long as no one choked on a bone.

Ah, sleeping, the musical cicadas

Would jingle in summer’s own cadence…

Beds smelled of mothballs,

Picnics near waterfalls,

Getting renewed by August radiance.

Cicadas*, Mom didn’t like, I’m certain,

Especially inside on the curtain…

My wife’s the same way,

The cicada will pay

As if the cicada would hurt them?

Alas, the house is gone…

My wife and I had to sell and move on,

Taxes and maintenance

Not in provenance,

Now the site is level with the lawn.

These August night sounds bittersweet

Remind me in part of defeat…

I lost family land

Expense out of hand,

The memory is all that I keep.

—Jonathan Caswell

(AUTHOR’S NOTE***Or Katydids…big green ones, on the curtain rod inside!)
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