Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Eel-Grass and Sixty-Five Degrees

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Today, two poets celebrate spring: Edna St. Vincent Millay, born in Rockland, who writes of the coast, and Nancy Henry, a resident of Westbrook, who describes April in the Maine interior.

Eel-Grass by Edna St. Vincent Millay

No matter what I say,
   All that I really love
Is the rain that flattens on the bay,
   And the eel-grass in the cove;
The jingle-shells that lie and bleach
   At the tide-line, and the trace
Of higher tides along the beach:
   Nothing in this place.

Sixty-Five Degrees by Nancy A. Henry

In April,
we hike in from the back orchard
after our winter of white-birch austerity.
All is pandemonium:
frog-muddy boot-sucking swamp earth,
crumblemoss log, shelf-lichen,
salamander, centipede,
snowmelt shadow-hollow,
fly-keening backwoods lowland,
messy fertile celebration
and head-swimming hymn
to spring.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. The first poem is in the public domain. The second poem is copyright © 2010 Nancy A. Henry. Reprinted from Favorites from the first fifteen years, Encircle Publications, 2010, by permission of Nancy A. Henry. 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.