Dana Gioia’s “Summer Storm”

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I always liked Dana Gioia’s poem “Summer Storm” and as we leave summer I thought I would share it with the blog.

My friend Hazel says this was the poem that made her fall in love with poetry. Perhaps you might like it as well?

As an aside, Dana‘s last name is pronounced “Joy-a,” which I find so fitting to the person and his poetry.

Carl Kruse

Summer Storm

-by Dana Gioia

We stood on the rented patio
While the party went on inside.
You knew the groom from college.
I was a friend of the bride.

We hugged the brownstone wall behind us
To keep our dress clothes dry
And watched the sudden summer storm
Floodlit against the sky.

The rain was like a waterfall
Of brilliant beaded light,
Cool and silent as the stars
The storm hid from the night.

To my surprise, you took my arm–
A gesture you didn’t explain–
And we spoke in whispers, as if we two
Might imitate the rain.

Then suddenly the storm receded
As swiftly as it came.
The doors behind us opened up.
The hostess called your name.

I watched you merge into the group,
Aloof and yet polite.
We didn’t speak another word
Except to say goodnight.

Why does that evening’s memory
Return with this night’s storm–
A party twenty years ago,
Its disappointments warm?

There are so many might have beens,
What ifs that won’t stay buried,
Other cities, other jobs,
Strangers we might have married.

And memory insists on pining
For places it never went,
As if life would be happier
Just by being different.

Dana Gioia. Photo from the Dana Gioia website.

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The Carl Kruse blog homepage is at https://www.carlkruse.com
Contact: carl AT carlkruse DOT com
The blog’s last post was Thoughts On Plague Literature.
You can also find Carl Kruse on Goodreads.

15 thoughts on “Dana Gioia’s “Summer Storm”

  1. Superb share. If it were a movie, it might be “Lost in Translation.” The magic of a single moment and an eternal “what if.”

  2. Makes me think of Jost van Dyke. But fortunately our paths crossed again many times.
    There are always “what ifs”…life has so many choices. But knowing you chose to stop and explore and cherish certain moments, is the reason for living.

  3. I was surprised not to have encountered this poem before but happy to connect with it now. A beautiful reflective journey on all the what ifs of life — especially romantic ones.

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