Studying the Anglo-Saxons

This summer let me end this summer young
Knowing less better than I now know more
And all my summer learning be your tongue

This summer let me        sing as I have sung
But like a child who has never sung before
This summer let me end this summer young

But old enough that I would still feel stung
And guilty at your        slammed then silent door
Let all my summer learning be your tongue

And let me speak as if my words had hung
On branches from which blossoms lit an or
-chard once with solid light        I am not young

Each summer now I am        by summer wrung
Out and my sweat now makes        no petrichor
On grateful air        but let me learn your tongue

This summer words        on which my words are strung
Wood dancers strung on wires        I’m ready for
The dancing let me        end this summer young
And all my summer learning be your tongue

Shane McCrae

Shane McCrae

Shane McCrae’s most recent books are Sometimes I Never Suffered, a finalist for the Maya Angelou Book Award, the T. S. Eliot Prize, and the Rilke Prize, and Cain Named the Animal, both published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He has received a Lannan Literary Award, a Whiting Writer’s Award, an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. He lives in New York City and teaches at Columbia University.
Shane McCrae

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Author: Shane McCrae

Shane McCrae’s most recent books are Sometimes I Never Suffered, a finalist for the Maya Angelou Book Award, the T. S. Eliot Prize, and the Rilke Prize, and Cain Named the Animal, both published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He has received a Lannan Literary Award, a Whiting Writer’s Award, an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. He lives in New York City and teaches at Columbia University.