Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Vespers

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

In this poem for November, the late Maine poet Theodore Enslin considers the relentless and mysterious purposes of his neighbors.

Vespers by Theodore Enslin

That time in the early evening,
a cold sunset gone?
colder than I remember
a year ago
          at apparently
the same time?
the time when cars
go by, one after another.
Purposeful, not speeding,
just to get home.
My neighbors are tired
and hungry
                    For what
do they hunger?
beyond a break in the day,
in from the cold?
                              A warm dinner.
What more do they want?
Where do they turn?
Words fail.
They cannot tell me.
If they could
I would not hear them
going past
this ordinarily quiet road.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem Copyright © 1994 by Theodore Enslin. Reprinted from The Quotable Moose: A Contemporary Maine Reader, University Press of New England, 1994. 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.