Posted by: Editor | June 15, 2009

Neighborliness

maine-lighthouse-sunriseAs you may know, Charles, the deep thinker of Peacock House, has a strong appreciation for poetry.  His favorite poets are, of course, from the wonderful state of Maine.  This month, Charles would like to share with you a poem by Maine Poet Laureate Emerita, Kate Barnes.  It is entitled Neighborliness and Charles feels that it really gives the reader a feel for what it means to live in Maine.

Neighborliness

In Maine we’re used to it, it’s still
the custom to look out for the neighbors, a habit
handed down from the start
of the earliest fishing villages, of the first
long strings of hundred-acre farms
stretched along ridges, each one usually
just called, “The Road.”

On that road,
if a man fell sick, or a widow
was facing a hard winter, it was neighbors
who filled the woodshed, the neighbors
who shared meat when they butchered If a house
burned down, the whole neighborhood
turned out to help build another. When a storm
threatened anyone’s cut hay, it was everyone
who hurried over to help get it safely
into the barn. And the helping
goes right on: this fall I heard
of someone who had to put a whole paycheck
on an old debt, and then found a hot dinner
waiting on the step when he got home from work
every night for a month — but no one
ever admitted a thing.

In Maine
we have a way of looking out
for one another. When the great ice storm
struck us last year, the grocery stores
were full of extra heaters left there
for anyone to borrow, and the whole state
was busy with jeep cans of water and stacks of wood,
making sure we were all alright, that everyone
would pull through.

In Maine
we are glad to be part of a land
that remains so beautiful under its green skin
of woods and open fields, that is glitteringly
bordered by thousands of miles
of breaking waves, and that is lovely,
too, with an unbroken tradition
of concerns, with the kind, enduring grace
of its neighborliness.

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