Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Sardine Packer
Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate
This reader’s choice poem from a past column comes from Allison Williams of Alfred. She writes: “‘Sardine Packer’ is posted over my desk because it states exactly what packing sardines was like. I never did it but a friend did; her picture and obituary is posted with the poem.”
Sardine Packer by Tom Sexton
The moon drew the bay to itself like a lover at full tide when I was young and full of life. Oh, I could make my scissors dance.Silver fish spilled from every net, and all my days were buttery when I worked at the cannery. Oh, I could make my scissors dance.My children came to see me work. I was the fastest on the line. They liked to slide in herring slime. Oh, I could make my scissors dance.The new owner won’t come to town to watch us nip and cut and pack. He bought and gave us all the sack. Oh, I could make my scissors dance.My daughter’s made her final bow. My grandson’s crying on my knee. But they can’t live on scenery. Oh, I could make my scissors dance.Summer people come here now to walk along the quiet bay. I had my time. I had my day. Oh, I could make my scissors dance.
Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2012 Tom Sexton. Reprinted from Bridge Street at Dusk, Loom Press, 2012, 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 email@example.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.