Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Island Transport

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Those who live on or frequent certain Maine islands may be familiar with the wheelbarrows of this poem, available for hauling luggage. But the fresh observation of today?s poem by Elizabeth Garber of Belfast gives them a new look.

Island Transport by Elizabeth Garber

Just off the long granite-bermed dock
the wheelbarrows wait under birch shade
in feathery grasses. They are beamy,
like oxen flicking their tails, ready
to haul with hand-hewn oak handles,
hammered leg braces, and oiled axles.
Hours after summer people propelled them,
loaded and wobbly, across the island,
they have settled beside the Big House.
The wheelbarrows are painted sky blue,
aqua, salmon, like cheerful aprons with 
roomy pockets. Wide-hipped, they linger
like chatting aunts. They would shuck corn
or snip peas off the back porch if they could.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2011 Elizabeth Garber. Reprinted from True Affections, The Illuminated Sea Press, 2011, by permission of Elizabeth Garber. 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.