Posts Tagged ‘poem a day’

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Seeing Mercer, Maine

January 24, 2023

Poem for thought

Wesley McNair served as Maine’s Poet Laureate, 2011-15, during which he had two initiatives. He successfully brought poetry to all regions of Maine and made it accessible to people from all walks of life. Mr. McNair has been writing poetry for 40 plus years, authored 20 books, had a poem included in Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, and has received several awards, recognition, and support for his writing. Mr. McNair has a slow and steady voice that draws the listener with hopes of not missing a word. His slight of humor and gentle smile is engaging.

I was fortunate while at the Maine Arts Commission to work with Mr. McNair in the Poetry Out Loud program. High school students who participated in Poetry Out Loud had the opportunity to spend time with him, engage in conversation and be inspired by his readings. I was inspired alongside them and now I listen to a poem being read each morning. Poem-a-Day is a program of the Academy of American Poets and makes it easy and fun to access poetry. The poems that I connect with are stashed away for future reading.

I read one of Mr. McNair’s latest poems (below) recently and knew that I wanted to share it with you, the readers of my blog. Mr. McNair lives in Mercer, Maine, population 640.

Wesley McNair

Seeing Mercer, Maine

By Wes McNair

Beyond the meadow
on Route 2, the semis
go right by,
hauling their long
echoes into the trees.
They want nothing to do
with this road buckling downhill
toward the Grange and Shaw
Library, Open 1-5 P.M. SAT,
and you may wonder
why I’ve brought you here,
too. It’s not SAT,
and apart from summer, the big
event in town’s the bog
water staggering down the falls.
Would it matter if I told you
people live here – the old
man from the coast who built
the lobster shack
in a hayfield;
the couple with the sign
that says Cosmetics
and Landfill; the woman
so shy about her enlarged leg
she hangs her clothes
outdoors at night? Walk down this road
awhile. What you see here in daytime –
a kind of darkness that comes
from too much light –
you’ll need to adjust
your eyes for. The outsized
hominess of that TV dish,
for instance, leaning
against its cupboard
of clapboard. The rightness
of the lobsterman’s shack –
do you find it, tilted
there on the sidehill,
the whitecaps of daisies
just cresting beside it
in the light wind?

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