February can be a long, cold haul around here. And so I’m grateful that this week’s poem, by Pam Burr Smith, reminds us of some of the best antidotes to the late-winter blues: a fire, coffee, books, slow and leisurely communion.

Smith lives in Brunswick and has published two books, “Heaven Jumping Woman” and “Near Stars.”

The Very Idea

By Pam Burr Smith

Cloud bound but proud

the dim February sun

survives above the snow.


Inside, three old friends lounge

around a cold hard sun substitute,

a yellow table.


They are reading, yawning, sipping coffee

and occasionally speaking out loud

a line from a book,


or airing a delicious new thought

—fresh yeast of the soul—

when Tom


gets up to stir the fire.

He carefully mumbles the coals

with a poker


and turning around he says, soft voice,

that we might just now, this minute,

be dying of happiness.


Megan Grumbling is a poet and writer who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. “The Very Idea” copyright © 2019 by Pam Burr Smith, reprinted from “Near Stars” (Blackberry Books, 2019) by permission of the author.

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