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Poem of the Week: Moon-viewing Party After the Election, Kristen Lindquist

Every Tuesday, I'll be sharing a poem that resonates in some way... with the season, the current moment, a feeling in the air. These may be diverse poets from around the world. but Maine has a rich community of poets past and present who will be specially celebrated in this column. What better way to kick off the Poem of the Week than with one of Camden's own? Poet Kristen Lindquist has written numerous books of award-winning poetry steeped in a sense of place and the natural (and peopled) world. As we're just coming off of election season (or still in the throes), this week I bring you a timely poem of Lindquist's: a post-election reflection published in 2017's Tourists in the Known World. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for a seasonal poem from this local poet.



Moon-viewing Party After the Election

This golden world the trees

lay at our feet

the moon carries on its back

as its rises full from the ocean

crowning an island and a rosy sky

last gulls turning pink

as they wing their way home

the water shivers

under the ribbon lain across it

while on shore we huddle near a bonfire

drawing comfort from the rudimentary

offerings of heat and light

boy with his bare feet

held soles upward near the flames

some have never known

the hatred and unrest that’ve arisen

in our country this week

but others remember

a woman waves sage smoke

over each of us to purify

what else can we do

in this moment low tide

at a northern beach in November

ferry snugged tight in its dock

why go anywhere else

what else can we do

but stand firmly on the sand

crunching seaweed underfoot

turn to each other

and talk about our lives

these fragile lives limned in gold

and turn to tables crowded with food

everyone has brought something

and look here says the moon

or was it me someone

has brought bourbon

four of us share sips from one glass

why can’t it just be like this

all of us standing together in moonlight

(you here too, with me)

listening with care to each other

what it all comes down to

someone offers up hotdogs

roasted in the fire

someone points out the Big Dipper

suspended upright low over the beach

holding all the darkness in

that big cup pass the bourbon

pour the wine red please

let’s at least celebrate this moon

its closest apogee in decades

a friend baked a big chocolate cake

in the shape of a heart

she tells us it takes a round pan

and a square pan

it tastes perfect with bourbon

that hint of bonfire smoke

a woman I just met

makes me laugh like I haven’t

laughed all week

we need this moon we say

but it rises whether we want it

or not regardless of need

just as it rose when this beach

was under a mile of ice

or when tiny ancient mollusks

inched their way over primordial mud

some of them fixed there still

waiting to be rediscovered

we can’t depend on it

but its light

that beautiful light reveals

what we can depend on

in each other.


- Kristen Lindquist

From Tourists in the Known World: New and Selected Poems

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