Summer in Texas

She sashays in on scorching licks of flame
that singe the sticky fringes of the day.
Her blaze, no brazen breeze can ease or tame;
she sizzles as she splashes rays our way.
Her sultry haze and scintillating gaze
immerse the plains in waves of liquid gold.
She surfs the cotton tufts and ears of maize
as molten blooms of afternoons unfold.
Hot rivulets of sweat slide down slick skin—
the fever of her steamy, salty kiss.
She curses air-con, flicked to kick her sin
into the hellish pits of heat’s abyss—

a torrid tease of wonderment and fear,
she flirts with every season of the year.



Mossie Malice

“If you think you’re too small to have an impact,  try going to bed with a mosquito.” —Anita Roddick

In blue-kissed bliss they wheel and whine,
in honeyed sun they taint the shine
of gold-dipped day and star-spun night;
oh, how those suckers love to bite!

As lizards lounge and moggies sprawl
on laced-with-jasmine backyard wall,
I’m smacking at each blood-blown blight;
oh, how those suckers love to bite!

I’m doused with deet from feet to chin
but still the devils prick my skin
and guzzle till I’m sick with spite;
oh, how those suckers love to bite!

Now, swat in hand, I plot to kill
such irksome quirks of Earth’s ill will . . .
I’ll swish and squish and smash and smite
until those suckers cannot bite!



Susan Jarvis Bryant is a church secretary and poet whose homeland is Kent, England.  She is now an American citizen living on the coastal plains of Texas.  Susan has poetry published in the UK webzine, Lighten Up On Line, The Daily Mail, and Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets).

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14 Responses

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you, Jay. The Shakespearean sonnet is one of my favorite forms. I’m thrilled you liked it.

  1. Peter Hartley

    Susan – Hyperbrill as always. My favourite bit this time is “…That singe the sticky fringes of the day”, but really they are all my favourite bits. And the speed you churn them out is quite outstanding. Your prolificacy itself is one of the marks of genius, I believe: Off the top of my head I’m thinking of Pugin the architect, in music Handel and Telemann, in art Turner and Corot, in poetry Wordsworth, Bryant and Longfellow. And the way you seem to be able to write for any occasion makes you prime nominee for Poet-laureateship if only we could get rid of the emetic C-A D first. Let it not in Gath be said nor in Ashkelon proclaim it, but I really do fear your Poetry has verily eclipsed my virtuosity on the gob-iron.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Peter, I’m almost lost for words (a very rare thing for me). Your appreciative and inspirational comment has made me want to go out and publish my full works – pudgy gluts and all! Although, I find it very hard to believe that any ode of mine could eclipse your virtuosity on the gob-iron. I look forward to hearing this treat – I believe you’re hiding your harmonica highlights under a bushel 😉 As for Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage has pipped me to the post… I fear it’s all a political ruse concerning my current Texas address. All I can say is, the U.K. is missing out on my sticky fringes… they don’t know what they’re missing!

      • Peter Hartley

        Does that mean she’s popped her clogs then? It shows how razor-sharp and up-to-the-minute I am. Oh no! I’ve just found out she resigned. I didn’t even know that such an illustrious post was autodefenestrable. I thought it was like being a beefeater or a Grand Lieutenant Commander of the Noble Order of the Rosicrucians (33rd degree). Just shows what I know.

      • Peter Hartley

        Shows how cutting-edge and up-to-the-minute I am. I didn’t even know that you were allowed to abdicate. I thought autodefenestration from the post was a capital offence like committing arson in her majesty’s dockyards or setting fire to a Chelsea pensioner, or decollating the Grand Master Lord Lieutenant of the Sublime order of the Rosicrucians (33rdDegree) or knowingly debeaking one of the Tower ravens.

      • Peter Hartley

        I think I’m getting double vision. Does that mean I’m diplopic?

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Peter, my sides are aching! You simply have to turn your comments on the resignation of CAD into a series of limericks. Setting fire to a Chelsea Pensioner and debeaking a Tower raven are beyond hilarious. I will bring these images to the fore whenever I need cheering up… thank you!

  2. Rod Walford

    Very evocative as always Susan! You seem to have the gift of selecting words that adhere so well to each other but at the same time you keep it down-to-earth and very relateable. Speaking as a man who has holiday-ed in the Belgian countryside where the mosquitoes are the size of Pterodactyls may I say how much I enjoyed the murder being planned in your final verse. Great stuff!

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Rod, thank you very much for your lovely comment. I am glad you can appreciate the horror of those biting blighters. Texas would be heavenly if only the heat could be turned down and mossies were non-existent. I also have the fear of lurking rattlesnakes, black widows, brown recluses, killer bees, alligators, and asps – all very good poetry material if I can manage to avoid fang and sting.

  3. Margaret Coats

    Susan, enjoyed your summer sonnet and kyrielle. You’ve reminded me of a summer rondel I’ll take in a strange direction–trying to imagine what can be done when no singing is allowed in church. This begins with “Il brille, le sauvage Ete” by Theodore de Banville.

    He scintillates, the savage Summer,
    His bosom filled with roses;
    To burning he exposes
    Both withered age and green newcomer;
    He slays–that cruel, placid mummer–
    Desire as beauty dozes,
    But scintillates this savage Summer,
    Faure’s Pavane where lips he closes
    So haughtily with secrets glummer
    Than silence plague imposes.
    What challenges this poses
    To a little practiced solo hummer!
    He scintillates, this savage Summer.

    I hope this doesn’t sound like a swarm of mosquitoes. One music director is both exasperated and creative enough to try organ with a solo cantor humming–and there is an arrangement of the Faure Pavane to be sung (in part) with lips closed. It sounds like fun, but will there be enough sound to make music?

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Margaret, you never fail to entertain and inspire me with your wonderful comments and this one is a real gift. Firstly, I love the poem. It had me looking up “Il brille, le sauvage Ete” to appreciate this creation, and I love it – the idea and the execution.

      As for Fauré’s graceful Pavane – I have gone back and listened to this piece, with your idea in mind. I think it will work perfectly, especially bearing in mind the fact that there is already an arrangement for exactly that purpose. I think exasperation and creativity will marry and go on to produce something beautiful. To shame choirs for singing while encouraging protesters to scream into the face of policemen is utterly hypocritical, and I admire new ways to engage and push forward with worship. Bravo, Margaret, bravo!

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you very much, Jeff! I’m glad my summer offering brought a smile. 🙂


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