In this week’s poem, a speaker observes the natural world while remembering a brother who has died. The poem is, in its own words, “a ragged song in a world that does not stop.” Even in the midst of grief, the world keeps moving, and a river, a field, frog song and flat rocks bring the speaker back to her body and back to her memories.

Pam Burr Smith has published short stories, essays, articles and poems in many journals. Her first book of poems, “Heaven Jumping Woman,” was published by Moon Pie Press in 2011, and she is currently finishing up a second, “Near Stars.”

A field by a river

By Pam Burr Smith

A field by a river is a fine thing to sit in

even when a brother dies

splitting the world like a bomb.


The brazen sun still pushes past the moon

in broad daylight.

Frogs in open chorus crunch summer to a close,


a ragged song in a world that does not stop.

What I need to know lives here

my blood understands and pulses.


My skin hums back to the air

my feet read the earth,

my bones knit stories together again.


My eyes fall in love with the close world

the old seesaw melting in the field

the flat rocks just right for skipping.


The history of giggles written in sticks,

the endless calls “You’re it!” “Not it!”

memories of a brother whole and near.

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is poet who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2017 Pam Burr Smith. It appears here by permission of the author. For an archive of all the poems that have appeared in this column, go to

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: