Poetry Friday: “Summer Frost”

Funny how poems sometimes materialize from the oddest of circumstances.

poetryfridaybutton-fulllFour years ago, when my wife and I were discussing possible names for our baby – who was due right at the very end of 2009 – several winter-related names popped up. Since we didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl, Noel/Noelle, Crystal, Winter, Merry, and Janvier (French for ‘January’) all came up as potentials, although we didn’t like any of those enough to put on our “list.”

One name, however, stuck: Frost. We thought Phoebe Frost would make a beautiful name for a girl born in the winter; plus, my wife noted that it would also be apropos because of my fondness for the poetry of Robert Frost.  (Being the comic book geek that I am, a reference to Emma Frost was a cool little bonus)

Fast forward to last month.  We were again discussing baby names, this time for our little bundle of joy who is due to arrive this August.  Since we had a little boy 3 1/2 years ago, we had to start from scratch with the boy names.  The girl names, however, were all fair game – but I questioned if the name Frost would work, considering the time of year he or she will be born.  One name my wife suggested was Summer Rose; when I countered with Summer Frost, a light went on. Those two words stuck in my head and refused to leave until I had written this.

“Summer Frost” may be off the baby name list, but it’s finally on paper…a poem four years in the making. For all of today’s Poetry Friday posts, please visit Ed DeCaria at Think Kid, Think!



“Summer Frost”

It was unexpected.

Deep, deep in July, all humid, torrid,

when blushing Brandywines, full and ripe

hang heavy, tearing from their vines

and dragonflies dart between empty rows

where sunflowers were to grow (thank the crows),

a killing came. Subtle death

settled lightly, gently wresting life and breath

swiftly, softly, barely touching –

but with such a thing

as a summer frost

it should not

be unexpected.


– © 2013, Matt Forrest Esenwine

24 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “Summer Frost”

  1. Beautiful poem, Matt. We had a late frost here in Maryland last week — the demise of many young tomato plants. I love the reminder that we can never know what turns nature will take.

    Best wishes for your growing family’s healthy, happy summer!


  2. It’s so interesting how names are chosen. This is a sweet result of the conversation for your young son and now the coming baby. I think they will love the story when they grow up, Matt. Beautiful poem! I like “where sunflowers were to grow (thank the crows),” Best wishes for the happiest of summers and no frost!


  3. Enjoyed hearing about your name selection conversations and the genesis of this lovely poem. Third and fourth lines reminded me of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73 :).


  4. Frost in July?! We’ve had May and occasional June…but July is beyond my imagination. But your words brought the possibility of the unexpected to life–lovely poem. Best of luck with the new babe.


  5. It’s a beautiful poem, Matt. I always like hearing the genesis of a poem. Choosing a child’s name has always been an exciting enterprise in my experience. It’s such a powerful thing, this naming. And yet there are some fun and funny moments in the process. When choosing a name our youngest, my husband mispronounced Jeanette while reading through the name book, and it stuck. Jeanetta Christine was the result!


  6. Matt, this is an exciting time for you and name choosing is an important ritual. While Summer Frost is off the table for baby, it is a delightful but unexpected one for a summer poem. Would you be interested in offering this one in an image poem format or another one for my summer poem gallery, #TheArtofSummering?


  7. Many…MANY congratulations to your family. Enjoy every moment and I cannot wait to hear the final name.

    Blackberry Summer! Just the title reminds me of that other title. Your poem is beautiful..and should not be unexpected.


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