April 12, 2016

Saturday, April 24, 2010

NPM 50 State Tour: Maine

Maine, the 23rd state, is as big as the other five New England states combined. It's "birthday" is on the Ides of March -- 3/15/1820.

You know I'm a fan of the Weird States series ('cause it started in my beloved New Jersey). This blog chronicles weird news in Maine.

And I loved this little factoid: "The Desert of Maine in Freeport is a natural desert which was once covered by a 300 acre farm. Years of land-clearing, overgrazing, and failure to rotate crops revealed this desert. According to geologists, a glacier moved through the area about 11,000 years ago depositing the sand and minerals that now make up the Desert of Maine." This is the source.

The Pine State only instituted a poet laureate's position in 1995. The current PL is Betsy Sholl. Her poem welcomes (and warns) a newborn baby.

Lullaby in Blue  
by Betsy Sholl
The child takes her first journey
through the inner blue world of her mother's body,
   blue veins, blue eyes, frail petal lids.

   Beyond that unborn brackish world so deep
it will be felt forever as longing, a dream
   of blue notes plucked from memory's guitar,

   the wind blows indigo shadows under streetlights,
clouds crowd the moon and bear down on the limbs
   of a blue spruce. The child's head appears—

   midnight pond, weedy and glistening—
draws back, reluctant to leave that first home.  
   Blue catch in the mother's throat,

   ferocious bruise of a growl, and out slides
the iridescent body—fish-slippery
   in her father's hands, plucked from water

   into such thin densities of air,
her arms and tiny hands stutter and flail,
   till he places her on her mother's body,

   then cuts the smoky cord, releasing her
into this world, its cold harbor below
   where a blue caul of shrink-wrap covers

   each boat gestating on the winter shore.
Child, the world comes in twos, above and below,
   visible and unseen. Inside your mother's croon

   there's the hum of an old man tapping his foot
on a porch floor, his instrument made from one
   string nailed to a wall, as if anything

   can be turned into song...
You'll find the rest of the poem  here
I'm spending today at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. My
daughter is competing in the Maryland Engineering Challenge
with a model roller coaster based on Alice in Wonderland.
I think she's getting tired of me reciting "Jabberwocky" at her.
What can I say -- I'm a poet, not a cheerleader. 
See you tomorrow for our National Poetry Month 50 State Tour
visit to Missouri.


Mary Lee said...

Huh. A desert in Maine. Who knew?

Great poem. Love the ending.

Hope daughter's rollercoaster was a winner!

Author Amok said...

Hi, Mary Lee. I'd love to see that desert.

I thought the poem was beautiful too.

Thanks for asking after the engineering project. Yes -- they won first place! Everyone was so excited.

Jeannine Atkins said...

I am glad for the update re first place. That project looks amazing!

And go Maine, for their great poet laureate.

Author Amok said...

There were some fab looking projects, but rumor is the judges liked that the girls had a hand-cranked elevator. Most other models were mechanized.