Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Crossing the Blueberry Barrens

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Tom Sexton is a poet of place who has written fine poems about locations in Alaska, Massachusetts, and Down East Maine. Here, he turns his attention to Maine’s blueberry barrens.

Crossing the Blueberry Barrens by Tom Sexton

No one else was on the road when
We drove across the blueberry barrens
Glowing like wind-blown embers.
We gleaned berries from the edges
Of fields raked by migrant workers
Who had moved on into Nova Scotia.
Glaciers had scraped the land to the bone.
Dusk came on. Ground fog moved in.
Boulders rose like the prows of ships,
Their long oars muffled and steady,
Then the narrow road began to descend
To a small river town’s empty main street
That was as dark and as wet as a seal.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2004 Tom Sexton. Reprinted from The Hudson Review, 2004, by permission of Tom Sexton. 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.