Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Night Wind in Spring
Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate
The late Elizabeth Coatsworth was a member of a Maine literary family that included her late husband, Henry Beston, and also includes her daughter, Kate Barnes, a former state poet laureate who lives in Appleton. In this week’s poem, Coatsworth describes the tentative beginning of a Maine spring.
Night Wind in Spring by Elizabeth Coatsworth
Two yellow dandelion shields do not make spring, nor do the wild duck swimming by the shore, so self-possessed, so white of side and breast, nor, I suppose, the change in the land-birds’ calls, softened and sweetened to a courting note, nor the new colors twigs are taking on, not even the sun which rises early now and lingers almost until dinner time. We, too, are valid instruments; we, too, can say if this be spring or only waning winter. Tonight the wind is loud about our chimney. There is no new moon in the sky, nothing but stars: the Dipper upright on its shining handle, Sirius bright above a neighbor’s house, and this wind roaming, not enough to scrape a branch along the roof, or try the shutters for one to bang. No, just enough to cry and cry and cry against the stalwart chimney, as though it were a wanderer who had come down half the world to find one only door and that door locked and nothing answering.
Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 1968 by Elizabeth Coatsworth. Reprinted from Down Half the World, by permission of Kate Barnes. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Special Consultant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at email@example.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.