Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Fiddleheads

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Maine natives and tourists have long been attracted to the taste of lobsters. But in today?s spring poem Richard Foerster of Cape Neddick asks us to consider the allure of fresh, sauteed fiddleheads.

Fiddleheads by Richard Foerster

Only the first scrolls inscripted
with the long winter?s undeciphered 
lore, only the tight-harnessed
coils volting up fully
charged from peaty earth would do:
tiny crosiers straining to hook
the sky; spring?s furled lace-
wings before the sun has a chance
to spirit them with flight. Arrested
potential I demanded with each
flick of my pruning knife, not
woodland crofts feathered wide
in August with spore-laden tracery.
How the future seemed to lie 
there before me, curled and delectable.
Already the virgin oil sizzled
in my mind till I was sure
the skillet would whisper hosannas.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 1998 Richard Foerster. Reprinted from Trillium, BOA Editions, Ltd, by permission of Richard Foerster. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Special Consultant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at mainepoetlaureate@gmail.com or 207-228-8263. Take Heart: Poems from Maine, an anthology collecting the first two years of this column, is now available from Down East Books.