Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine poet laureate.

Marcia Brown, Portland’s poet laureate, creates such drama in her description of the birds she and her husband discover, we miss for a moment that her poem for Valentine’s week is about the two of them as well.


By Marcia F. Brown

Flame in the snow-bowed lilac tree,

flare of yellow beak, coal nugget eye —

I want to call you jubilantly

and I do — Come, quickly — Look!

And you do, and there we are

at the kitchen window, my hands

damp above the suds, you

in your storm coat, halfway out the door

to shovel a foot of new snow. Both of us

suddenly blissful and buoyed

by this eruption of red

in the flocked and frosted

wedding cake of our yard. Now

he is joined by the muted rose

of his mate. If they had something to do,

it seems to be right here, poised

between frozen buds, the storm

moving out to sea, an unexpected sunset

lighting the trees like glass, tinting

the long field coral. Startling too,

how together, they unfold like paper hearts

and are gone.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2010 Marcia F. Brown. Reprinted from “What on Earth,” Moon Pie Press, 2010, by permission of Marcia F. Brown. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc at [email protected] 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.