Take Heart 31 July 2013

Posted Wednesday, July 31, 2013 in Culture

Take Heart 31 July 2013

A Conversation in Poetry

Edited and Introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate


In her recent collection Bog Orchids, Susan Deborah King explores the people and places of her beloved Great Cranberry Island. Today’s poem from that collection shows us island life during an early morning in August.


Up with Fishermen and Birds

by Susan Deborah King


As first light copies from the sky its pink

onto the water, and lobster boats

motor out to drop or pull their traps; as they

swish deftly the long train of their wakes

around buoys bobbing proud, heraldic colors

over the sea’s wave-smoothened field;

as captains in orange waders stand at the helms,

or lower traps over the gunwales,

their engines rasping like morning

trying to clear its throat; as deer bow

in an attitude of worship, into the mist

hovering just above the meadow,

their backs caught tawny in the rising light;

as bees make their gold-gathering rounds

of poppies, balm and mallow; as crows

harangue each other; as the hummingbird whirrs

to probe the fuchsia for its breakfast juice;

as the phoebe keeps putting its name

before the world, and the morning glory

composes itself in the shadows waiting

for a spotlight before it blows its horn zenith blue –

in this hour, the poet too is at work, alert

in her cerulean chair on the porch.

Binoculars handy, books stacked around her,

she bears witness to the beginning, embellishing

the fresh, clean pages of the day with words of praise

that we have once again come whole, come new

                                           out of the dark, out of the dark.


Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2010 Susan Deborah King. Reprinted from Bog Orchids: Island Poems, Island Institute, 2010, by permission of Susan Deborah King. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Special Consultant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at mainepoetlaureate@gmail.com or 207-228-8263. Take Heart: Poems from Maine, an anthology collecting the first two years of this column, is now available from Down East Books.

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