Late August on the Lido

John Hollander

 
To lie on these beaches for another summer
Would not become them at all,
And yet the water and her sands will suffer
When, in the fall,
These golden children will be taken from her.

It is not the gold they bring: enough of that
Has shone in the water for ages
And in the bright theater of Venice at their backs;
But the final stages
Of all those afternoons when they played and sat

And waited for a beckoning wind to blow them
Back over the water again
Are scenes most necessary to this ocean.
What actors then
Will play when these disperse from the sand below them?

All this over until, perhaps, next spring;
This last afternoon must be pleasing.
Europe, Europe is over, but they lie here still,
While the wind, increasing,
Sands teeth, sands eyes, sands taste, sands everything.
 
"Late August on the Lido" is reprinted with permission from Selected Poetry, Copyright 1993 by John Hollander. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on August 20, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Poems by This Author

An Old-Fashioned Song by John Hollander
No more walks in the wood:
The Mad Potter by John Hollander
Now at the turn of the year this coil of clay


Further Reading

Poems About Farewells
A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
by John Donne
Before the Deployment
by Jehanne Dubrow
Chicago
by Carl Sandburg
Farewell
by John Clare
Farewell to Yang, Who's Leaving for Kuo-chou
by Wang Wei
Good Night
by Wilhelm Müller
Kissing Stieglitz Good-Bye
by Gerald Stern
Losing Track
by Denise Levertov
Remember
by Christina Rossetti
Since Hannah Moved Away
by Judith Viorst
So Long
by Walt Whitman
Verses upon the Burning of our House
by Anne Bradstreet
When We Two Parted
by George Gordon Byron