Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Her Telling

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

This week?s poem, by Thomas Moore of Brooksville, consists of just one sentence with a surprise ending. The poem relates a story of Moore?s grandmother, who taught him gardening and, as he puts it, ?how to get through a tough time.?

Her Telling by Thomas R. Moore

When she told me
after she?d uncoiled the line
    with the steel stakes at the ends
    to set straight rows of peas
    clad in her denim cover-alls
    and tall rubber boots at seventy,
after she?d tossed garden stones
    onto the long windrow
    beyond the asparagus,
after she?d showed me
    the ants climbing the peony stalks
    to the hard buds and cupped hands
    beside the kitchen propane tanks,
and even after years of stirring
    green tomato mincemeat
    on the yellow Glenwood
    and tugging carrots
    from the hot August soil
    and snapping off ears of corn
    and letting me pick clean
    the tree of seckel pears-
    the hard tangy red fruit-
    in October,
even forty years after that Christmas day
    when she smashed the third floor door,
    the children listening below,
    to find her husband inside,
    dead by his own hand,
my grandmother was stunned
by her own telling.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2010 Thomas R. Moore. Reprinted from The Bolt-Cutters, Fort Hemlock Press, 2010, by permission of Thomas R. Moore. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to David Turner, Special Assistant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at poetlaureate@mainewriters.org or 207-228-8263.