Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: The Dragonfly

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Louise Bogan, one of America?s finest lyric poets, was born in Livermore Falls. A resident of Manhattan, she often returned to Maine, which is perhaps the source of today?s poem.

The Dragonfly by Louise Bogan

You are made of almost nothing
But of enough
To be great eyes
And diaphanous double vans; 
To be ceaseless movement,
Unending hunger,
Grappling love.
Link between water and air,
Earth repels you. 
Light touches you only to shift to iridescence
Upon your body and wings.
Twice-born, predator, 
You split into the heat. 
Swift beyond calculation or capture
You dart into the shadow
Which consumes you.
You rocket into the day. 
But at last, when the wind flattens the grasses,
For you, the design and purpose stop.
And you fall
With the other husks of summer.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 1996 Louise Bogan. Reprinted from The Blue Estuaries, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC, copyright renewed 1996 by Ruth Lemmer. 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.