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Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Where the Deer Were
Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate
Kate Barnes of Union, who was Maine's first official poet laureate, passed away last month. Her poetry, however, lives on, known to readers by its intimate tone, its attention to nature, and a third characteristic she once said was common to all poetry: "the trancelike effect of language artfully used." Today's poem commemorates Kate and her beautiful work.
Where the Deer Were by Kate Barnes
It's always hard to form a true picture of what's happening, isn't it? Difficult to know what's what.For instance, the moving tenderness of the desiring man, the gentle vanity of the desired woman sliding their bare arms together in the grass across the stream.It's late summer, a misty day, but warm.I can't see their faces. So what is happening, really? Perhaps they are fighting—very evenly. Perhaps those sounds are groans of pain.Now the mist closes my eyes.When it lifts once more, I see nothing over there but a hollow in the long grass like the places where deer have been lying, and the only thing I hear is shallow water making excuses to stone.
Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 1994 David Goldine. Reprinted from Where the Deer Were, David R. Goldine, Publisher, Inc., by permission of David Goldine. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Special Consultant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.