This week’s poem, W. Kent Olson’s “Circuitry,” praises the old, wild cycles we somehow sustain within us. I love this poem’s sensory intensity, and how eloquently it conjures the mysteries of our world and at our source.

Olson, retired president and CEO of Friends of Acadia, observes politics, the natural scene, and other subjects from Mount Desert Island. He writes across genres and, in 2021, was named a Maine Literary Awards finalist for his collection “Common Cause and Other Poems.”

Poets, please note that submissions to Deep Water are open through the end of the year. Deep Water is especially eager to share poems by Black writers, writers of color, Indigenous writers and other underrepresented voices. You’ll find a link to submit in the credits below.


By W. Kent Olson

atavism, n. The reappearance of a characteristic in an organism after several generations of absence, caused by a recessive gene….

— The American Heritage Dictionary


The primitive is far away yet within.

When I, older now, take the old circuit

of trails, it seems genes not known

prior reactivate, make me differently

see the deep seasonal. The precise

arrival when Buffleheads recur, for

instance, or when Labrador Tea

floresces its crimped white, n.b.:

brown fuzz underleaf, its spongy

strategy to stay moist.


The cycles I register I once ignored,

or didn’t see, but now anticipate, e.g.:

the avid herd of chittering robins will

timely visit, flit, confer, take at Mountain-

ash (no ash at all, but Pyrus, or Sorbus

an apple!), whose gravid red berries,

by then fermented, besot a flighty

bird about to migrate.


A brain runnel regresses to time

before one’s time, expresses, though

it’s not sought, what one doesn’t know

one possesses. The ample wolf alive

inside all things canine is but a mere

pup asleep in me. Yet on its least

stir, I’m open-eyed, up, and prime.


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. “Circuitry,” copyright © 2021 by W. Kent Olson, appears by permission of the author. Submissions to Deep Water are open now and through the end of the year. For more information, go to

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