This week’s poem, Linda Buckmaster’s “Elemental,” takes as inspiration a quintessential Maine painting by Winslow Homer. I love how this poem finds animacy and archetypes in the elements, and how its cadences mirror the rugged rush of waves, wind and rock.

Buckmaster has lived within a block of the Atlantic most of her life, growing up in “Space Coast” Florida during the ’60s and living here in the Midcoast for 40 years. Her poetry, essays and fiction have appeared in over 40 journals, and she is a former Belfast poet laureate. She is currently working on a hybrid project about the North Atlantic and salt cod.


By Linda Buckmaster

After Winslow Homer’s “Weatherbeaten”



Ocean, and the constant

swelling and shrinking, sighs and roars,

restless come hither/now stay away.

Stuff of veins and fluids, hope and

destroyer of hope. Journey waters.

Rock, hard edge of continent, of lives

and layered sediment, aftermath of

heat and water. Rock ignores all

questions it patiently bears.

Wind speaks

and we don’t always like what we hear.

Tale carrier. Singer of stories. Delicate.

Violent. Picking up companions, then

dropping them elsewhere.

Sky,   heart-breaking sky,

because your heart is not big enough

to take it all in, it must break again

and again. The cruel distance of never arriving.


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. “Elemental,” copyright 2022 by Linda Buckmaster, was originally published in Elemental: A Miscellany of Salt Cod and Islands (Huntress Press). It appears by permission of the author.

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