Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Washington County, Maine and By Passamaquoddy Bay

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Tom Sexton divides his time between Alaska, where he recently served as poet laureate, and Down East Maine, where he observed the apples of these two poems.

Washington County, Maine

Apple trees heavy with the season’s fruit,
piebald, yellow, planet-red, even black,
stand abandoned in fields, the unintended
gift of those who long ago moved on,
a gift to waxwings and even to the tone-
deaf crows in their undertaker’s suits,
to the man driving slowly, window down,
to the worms in their snow-white orbit.

By Passamaquoddy Bay

Thin light over Campobello Island
to the east when I rise to walk
the long abandoned railroad bed.
Not a trace is left of the rails.
I have several letters to answer
and yesterday’s paper to read,
but the wild apples are waiting
cold on the tongue, polished by mist.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2011 by Tom Sexton. Reprinted from “I Think Again of Those Ancient Chinese Poets,” University of Alaska Press, 2011, by permission of Tom Sexton. 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.