Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: The Plymouth On Ice

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

In our first poem of the new year, Thomas Moore of Brooksville looks back on the risks he and his friends once took as they glided over the ice holding ropes behind a Plymouth in the dark. Note how Moore imitates the dangers he describes with long sentences that turn sharply at line breaks and leap across stanzas.

The Plymouth On Ice by Thomas R. Moore

On frigid January nights we’d
take my ’forty-eight Plymouth onto
the local reservoir, lights off
to dodge the cops, take turns
holding long manila lines in pairs
behind the car, cutting colossal
loops and swoons across
the crackly range of ice. Oh
God, did we have fun! At ridges
and fissures we careened,
tumbled onto each other, the girls
yelping, splayed out on all fours,
and sometimes we heard groans
deep along the fracture lines as
we spun off in twos, to paw, clumsy,
under parkas, never thinking of
love’s falls or how thin ice
would ease us into certain death.
No, death was never on our minds,
we were eighteen, caterwauling
under our own moon that
warded off cops and
front-page stories of six kids
slipping under the fickle surface.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2010 by Thomas R. Moore. Reprinted from The Bolt Cutters, Fort Hemlock, 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.