Captain/Seaman Heaney

Seamus Heaney commandeered language as captain
of a ship who knows the power of words to direct
the vessel he sails––whether to bridle or ride the waves.

He was also a seaman who saw stains on the foredeck
and scrubbed them out in service to telling the story
clean to those who read and see and listen
happily among the hearing herd.

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To Seek the Un-balance

You have tasted poetry with a silver spoon
but have never been consumed yourself
by the need and will to write first and then
to attend the rest––cleaning, harvesting,
volunteering––seeking the infamous balance.

No. Seek un-balance. Allow the scale’s
weight to drop heavy on the side of writing
not making allowance for all else
but saving pride of place for poetry
ever first in the Muse’s intent for you.

Memorializing Heaney Memorializing

You outlived many but then it was you
for whom death came, thirsty, a-search

and drinking you quickly lest the glass spill
and anything of you be lost.

As poet-survivor among your peers
the task of memorializing had fallen to you

again and again, in memory of Richard,
of Tom, of John Hewitt …

in Seeing Things; they rise again
under your pen to life for us

in poems filled with your humanity
still wholly intact.

“Blue Collar Daughters” to Read

On Sunday, March 18, 2018, Judith Robbins will join poets Claire Hersom and Susann Pelletier for a reading of their poems and conversation about poetry in their lives.

This event, dubbed “Blue Collar Daughters,” is the first in a monthly series of community poetry and conversations sponsored by L/A Arts.The event will take place between 2 and 4 p.m. in the L/A Arts Gallery, 221 Lisbon St., Lewiston.

A donation of $4 is suggested, and there will be light fare offered. The poets’ books will be available for sale.

“She continued writing all her life …

persevering through war, exile, imprisonment
and the loss of her fortune.” So writes
the translator Wendy Chen of Li Qingzhao
known for her ci––her poems set to music.

The gauntlet thrown down, I pick it up,
not having had to persevere through war,
exile, imprisonment or loss of fortune,
my cup of history and responsibilities

shouldered over many years is what
I have to offer, not that of the Chinese poet,
her life complicated by much beyond her control

but kids, they are what fills the cup
with laundry, cooking, transportation
doctoring, comforting, encouraging
daily emergence into their lives.

Notwithstanding differences––a woman’s
life is a woman’s life––I accept the challenge
of her life, and continue writing mine.