A Summer Poem

Judges in Summer

Sometimes people who judge and judge
turn lovely in summer, with gin & tonics.

They shop at little roadside stands;
brood in a trance over silks of corn.

Lounging around, still starched from swimming,
they speak mild words in the evening air



and leave the work of keeping up standards
to bickering children, questions of worth

to the waves. In town, in handkerchief dresses,
rumpled white suits, they smile, they visit—

they water the garden; hum with the cat.
In shirt and jeans they climb the rocks


with wine in a thermos, a bag of bread
to throw to those ravenous muscles the gulls—

and there they offer a round of applause
(of the gentle sort once used watching tennis)

to see the fat sun dip away
through its showy orange time.


"Judges in Summer" by Barry Spacks, from Spacks Street: New and Selected Poems.
 © The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982. Reprinted with permission at WritersAlmanac.org

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