This week’s poem, Sandy Stott’s “Along the Big Branch – 10 days in,” finds community and peace among milkweed, ants and falling leaves. I love this poem’s meditative calm, its attention to the tiniest beauties, and the clarion gratitude it holds for the world around us.

Stott lives in Brunswick and writes about outdoor experiences and matters both local and regional. He has found many stories through his conservation work and in years spent climbing in and learning New Hampshire’s White Mountains, including his 2018 book “Critical Hours – Search and Rescue in the White Mountains” (University Press of New England). He also writes a regular column about mountain incidents for Appalachia, the semiannual journal of the Appalachian Mountain Club.

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.


Along the Big Branch – 10 days in

By Sandy Stott

I’ve left the little settlement
of my pack on the path, I’ve shed
the civil tent of my clothes
on the shore, and
the tiny priest of my mind
prays silently at his altar.
I am drying in the sun
the monadnock of one knee raised
against a blue sky.
Somewhere along the far side
an ant climbs through a forest
of hair and from the peak
evaporation’s tendrils curl;
a milkweed seed drifts by
its dark heart suspended
from a white parachute….
As I laze in the steady song
of the Big Branch
one by one
the leaves fall
one by one
I leave
each where
it lands.

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. “Along the Big Branch – 10 days in,” copyright © 2021 by Sandy Stott, 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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