Today’s poem is “On the Path to the Sea, Kennebunkport, Late October” by Marget Yocom. She lives in Farmington and Rangeley and is the author of ALL KINDS OF FUR: Erasure Poems & New Translation of a Tale from the Brothers Grimm (Deerbrook Editions, 2018); A folklorist, she founded the Folklore Studies Program at George Mason University where she taught for 36 years.
She writes, “Living in the western Maine mountains as I do, walking an ocean beach is strange territory, especially in October; and, on this day, my attention seemed drawn to strangeness. As I walked by the beach roses, I thought of winter’s approach; but the roses, in their various stages of transformation, also spoke to me of all the other seasons, as if the entire year was hurtling toward winter. Then, I happened on a gray cottage’s PRIVATE sign alongside a fence of roses, only thorns remaining on the stalks. The sign was hardly needed; there was no one inside the closed-up cottage to disrupt. Yet, there the cottage and its sign stood, frozen in fairytale foreverness, its summer dreams preserved in the amber of October.”
On the Path to the Sea, Kennebunkport, Late October
by Margaret Yocom
The entire year hangs on the wild beach roses.
All over the throat-high bushes
clumps of rosehips sway
some plump, still red and fruited
some collapsed, leaking
some dry, leather brown and dreaming of snow.
Along the lawn of the shuttered gray house,
wild roses stood guard all summer.
Their green and growing branches, flush with thorns,
flanked the gray gate,
gave truth to the red-lettered warning: PRIVATE
All those who slept inside felt the promise—
a summer that would last a hundred years,
every day, roses, blush pink,
with a fragrance like forever.
Poem copyright ©2016 Margaret Yocom. Reprinted from Goose River Anthology, Goose River Press, 2016, by permission of Margaret Yocom.