Today reminds me of a beautiful June day in the late 1950s. The school year was over and my father brought me down to his office to spend the day. It was an era when Bridgeport, Connecticut still had its industries and a downtown, and the elevators in office buildings had operators who would take you up and down.
As my father and I got on the elevator, my father started to recite James Russell Lowell’s poem, “What Is So Rare As A Day in June.” When he hesitated on a line, the operator continued and finished the whole first verse. I still remember the proud, happy look on her face, as much as the bright sun and clear sky of that day.
AND what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays;
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there’s never a leaf nor a blade too mean
To be some happy creature’s palace;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o’errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,-
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?