Edited and introduced by Gibson Fay-LeBlanc.

The poem this week comes from “Persephone in the Late Anthropocene,” an opera written by Megan Grumbling with music by the late composer Denis Nye – it made its debut at SPACE Gallery in May 2016. In the libretto, Grumbling updates the Persephone story for the era of climate change: Persephone’s trips back and forth to the underworld are erratic and don’t match up with the seasons, thus throwing the whole world into turmoil.

Here, there are no consequences, yet – just “a love / of heights and thaw.” Note the repetition and the riffing of sounds from line to line and stanza to stanza. There are no lost notes here. While appearing at first glance to be dashed off by a speaker flitting from here to there and back, the poem is carefully sculpted and bears repeated readings.

Grumbling lives in Portland, and her first book, “Booker’s Point,” won the Vassar Miller Prize and was published in 2016.

Persephone’s Lark Song

By Megan Grumbling

I go for the light, the light, a love

of heights and thaw. Sweets out of season.

Daylong trilling “trly” and “prrit.”

A whole flock’s skyward veer and the white

of underwing.

Living in the dark takes will. Irony.

A strong stomach for dearth, dearth, dried fruit.

And no harm, time to time, to sing too much

in the sun, exotic plums, fresh blistered lemon

on the lips.

These flights are just a lark, a lark, a least

creature’s thirst quenched. I do descend, in time.

Once I’ve soared trilling out of sight,

I’ll fold back wings and fall

like a stone.

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is Portland’s poet laureate. This column is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2016 Megan Grumbling. It appeared originally in “Memorious,” spring 2016.