The Night Before Summer

by Duncan Jones

‘Twas the night before summer and all through land
All the wild ones were wide-eyed, awaiting the wild man
The hot heat had arrived, and the night was alive
Ready to honor the fallen and meet those who’d survived

The long cold dark night, most here call it the winter
And each was poised nervous, every runner and sprinter
Tails twitched and teeth showed, a nervous chatter of sounds
And the night-eyes of all were quickly making their rounds

Then for a moment passed by ghosts, a night breeze
And there was no sound at all, just swishing grass and the trees ...
When suddenly up on a hill, arrived out of the dark
The wild man and his wolves, each as fierce as a shark!

And as they descended, slowly down toward the others
All the babies from spring felt like finding their mothers
Though sharp teeth were covered, claws gripped the ground tight
Though tails had stopped twitching, all were unsure of this night

It seemed like forever, and yet, no time at all
There wild man stood standing, “I see we all heard the call.”
Then he walked straight on up to the most baddest beast
Said, “Tomorrow my friend, I shall find you a feast!”

And he turned to the rest as if choosing his victim
And he smiled a wild smile, and all hoped he’d not pick them
“But tonight there’s no hunting, no fear, only fun!
Now who here will come with me? Who wants to go run!?”

The sound that arose filled every bit of the air
The trees came alive with those no one knew had been there
In no time at all the sky was filled with the flyers
The giants rose tall, and came screams from night criers

The heavies all slammed their feet, the horns shredded the grass
The lights bounced with the spring of those who run fast
And the wild man made way through the crowd of all types
Greeting old friends, making new, from the spots to the stripes

Then aloud to his wolves, “Set the pace, clear the way!
We’ve some friends in the waters, so to them before day!”
And the summer run had begun, and the fast raced ahead
And it was the most certain of facts that not a soul was in bed

Through the night, over hills, to where the forest grows thick
To the muddy banks of the waters that catch even the quick
All slowed now, none drank, to be first no one cared
The waters brought big teeth and too close no one dared

The wild man knelt down and picked up a stone
His wolves growled low growls, and it was about to be thrown
To wake the black water, when a voice ushered through
“Nice to see you old friend, we all heard the call too!”

Then the green monsters thrashed, fishes jumped to and fro
From low hanging branches swingers swooped and swung low
The black water danced, and waves tore down the banks
And those who were tired drank their drinks and gave thanks

After all were refreshed that’s when the wild games took place
All the strongs showed their strength, facing off face to face
Then with all covered in mud, as black as could be
They made their way down the river, to where it meets with the sea

The swimming giants came close, and their songs could be heard
Came the fins with the sharp smiles, but they said not a word
And the ocean washed clean, and the moon said goodbye
And way off in the distance hints of the sun touched the sky

And when all were at peace watching the waves on the shore
Knowing this one run per year that does not have a score
The wild man spoke up, “‘Twas a beautiful night we all saw
But when the sun sets again it’s back to jungle law ...

Until this time next year happy hunting my friends
Stay alive and I promise that we shall do it again!”
Then louder than ever, to each beast and each child
“Be strong, run fast, play outside, KEEP IT WILD!!!!!!!!!”