Take Heart 24 April 2013

Posted Wednesday, April 24, 2013 in Culture

Take Heart 24 April 2013

A Conversation in Poetry

Edited and Introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate


Bruce Guernsey of Bethel has appeared twice before in the Take Heart column. Today he offers a group portrait of a family at the dump.


The Dump Pickers

by Bruce Guernsey


On Sundays

carting my trash to the dump

I’d see them swarming

the piles like gnats,

a whole family of pickers

straight from Mass:

Dad’s suit, white

as the noon sky, Junior

in a polka-dot tie –

in bright, patent leathers

his small, pale sister.


From the highest of piles

Mother shouted orders

through a paper cup,

the men hurrying under

her red, high heels,

dragging metal to the pickup,

the little girl giggling,

spinning on her toes

through the blowing paper

like a dancer, a little twist

of wind in the dust.


Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2012 Bruce Guernsey. Reprinted from Rain: Poems, 1970-2010, Ecco Qua Press, 2012 by permission of Bruce Guernsey. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Special Consultant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at mainepoetlaureate@gmail.com or 207-228-8263. Take Heart: Poems from Maine, an anthology collecting the first two years of this column, is now available from Down East Books.  

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