Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Zones of Peeper

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Carl Little is not only an accomplished poet but a widely published author of books about the painters of Maine. In today’s column he describes how peepers “fling their music” during early spring. Note how his poem flings its own joyful music across line breaks and stanza divisions.

Zones of Peeper By Carl Little

Driving home from a party, parsing
conversations, car windows down
to greet first real summer heat,
we pass through zones of peeper—
not song, not chorus, though
scientists no doubt find pattern
in the high-pitched whatever it is.
Nor peep, which reminds you of
silly chicks falling over each other
in an incubator. Every moist venue
between Pretty Marsh and Somesville,
every hundred yards brings
this antic singing, somewhat
alien in tone, magical too,
like fireflies but auditory,
not synthesized but a perfect
cacophony of the higher ranges,
tiny frogs doing their spring thing,
flinging music into dank milieu
of pond edge and marsh, inspiring
a certain joy in our recap of the evening
as if every fault could be forgiven
when you consider the rest of the world
wild and wet and flipping out.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2009 by Carl Little. Reprinted from Down East Magazine, March 19, 2009, by permission of Down East. 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.