Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine poet laureate.

Tom Sexton of Eastport writes that there are certain vestiges from past settlement in our region that give him “an intense sense of loss but also a sense of possibility, of endurance.” Hence this poem which, brief as it is, took him “several years to write.”

The Granite Stoop

By Tom Sexton

I walked past it from time to time

in a wood that had once been cleared

for a family farm before the Revolution.

Oxen hauled it inland from the coast.

A still visible depression in the earth

marked where a house once stood.

There was a clear spring not far away

and the worn slates of a burial ground.

I remember that the stoop was as tall

as a two year old. How many generations

coming and going at dawn and dusk

wore the ladle-shaped groove in its center

that spilled heavy rain from its lip

and held the icy stars when it was cold?

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 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.