Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Prayer for Joy

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Stuart Kestenbaum of Deer Isle writes that today?s poem came from what he ate one day for lunch, namely, alphabet soup -- ?the perfect meal for a writer.?

Prayer for Joy by Stuart Kestenbaum

What was it we wanted
to say anyhow, like today
when there were all the letters
in my alphabet soup and suddenly
the ?j? rises to the surface.
The ?j?, a letter that might be
great for scrabble, but not really
used for much else, unless
we need to jump for joy,
and then all of a sudden
it?s there and ready to
help us soar and to open up 
our hearts at the same time,
this simple line with a curved bottom,
an upside down cane that helps
us walk in a new way into this 
forest of language, where all the letters
are beginning to speak,
finding each other in just
the right combination
to be understood.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2014 Stuart Kestenbaum. Reprinted from Only Now, Deerbrook Editions, 2014, by permission of Stuart Kestenbaum. 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.