Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Frenchboro

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

A summer resident of Great Cranberry Island, Susan Deborah King has been giving voice to island life for several years. Today’s poem is a compelling example.

Frenchboro by Susan Deborah King

Maybe on an outer island they don’t care
as much how things look. Almost nothing
but lobster boats in this narrow harbor
their two-ways blaring into air otherwise pristine.
Very few pleasure craft.
Right by the dock, a wooden hull
collapsed, and is flattening,
boards slowly falling away from each other
like a body flummoxed by exhaustion.
The shed next to it, barely
holding together, windows
punched out, slumps.
Both just left, not cleaned up, built back,
hidden, cleared away or taken apart
and used for kindling.
Weather has made every effort to polish them.
Still, they’re duller than tarnished silver.
They’ve given out, no good anymore,
not even for tuning the wind.
No one here pretends they are
or even gives a hoot.
Why do I find them beautiful?

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2010 by Susan Deborah King. Reprinted from Bog Orchids: Island Poems, Island Institute, 2010, by permission of Susan Deborah King. 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.