This week’s poem tracks a speaker’s thoughts after a “brutal” storm has knocked out the power – a situation most Mainers understand intimately. In these deft lines, it’s also clear that we might not only be talking about a natural disaster – we might also be tracking a human one.

Jennifer Moxley’s most recent collection is “Druthers” (Flood, 2018). Her book “The Open Secret” (Flood, 2014) won the 2015 William Carlos Williams award, and was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts award. She is professor of poetry and poetics at the University of Maine.

7:54 AM

By Jennifer Moxley

It is said that in T’ao Ch’ien’s poetry

the pine tree is a symbol of

“constancy amidst uncertainty.”


So what am I to think when

eight massive pines fall

in as many minutes?


A brutal wind shear

came up from the East.


It didn’t seem possible.

But in such times as ours

old and venerable things

uproot while we watch.


The distance closes.


There are no birds.

Before the torrential rains,

they made a great racket,

pulled up the grubs

and left in flocks.


For now, our house is spared.

I climb the stairs to take

a picture of the fallen pines.

My legs are shaking.

It will be a long time

before the power returns.


Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is a poet who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2017 Jennifer Moxley. It appears here by permission of the author

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. 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: