This week’s poem, Betsy Sholl’s “To the Welkin,” is a richly musical prayer to the vault of the sky and our difficult bonds with the earth beneath it. I love this poem’s wonderfully tactile sounds and images, and how they carry the poem forward to a moment of profound humility and transcendence.

Sholl teaches in the MFA in writing program of Vermont College of Fine Arts and served as Maine’s poet laureate from 2006 to 2011. Her 10th collection of poetry is “As If A Song Could Save You” (University of Wisconsin, 2022), which launches on Nov. 3 with a celebration at Mechanics Hall, in Portland.

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, LGBTQ writers and other underrepresented voices. You’ll find a link to submit in the credits below.

To the Welkin
By Betsy Sholl

Will you wither me down to wilt,
weather me into winter’s realm,
into worry’s unraveling warp
and weft, into a wooded world
of want, of knot and not, and none?

Well then, let me root there,
let me rest and wrestle, wrest
from this grief whatever nest,
node, nod there is, spark or spoor,
microbe, mica, mushroom, mite.

Let grudge and grist fall away,
let what wisp of light spill is left
whet or whelp my wrecked and
reckoning, my lone and only life.

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. “To the Welkin,” copyright 2022 by Betsy Sholl, appears by permission of the author. Submissions to Deep Water are open through the end of the year. For more information, go to

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