Donald Junkins Red Point Journal: Swan’s Island, Summer 2001

This spring, the passing of our former poetry editor Donald Junkins saddened the NDQ community. Junkins was a poet, educator, and editor both for the Quarterly and the Massachusetts Review. In recognition of his contributions to NDQ and his work, we thought we’d republish a collection of his poems from NDQ 70.2 (Spring 2003).

“Red Point Journal: Swan’s Island, Summer 2001” is a series of sixteen poems that interlace the landscape of Swan’s Island in Maine with personal reflections. The glare of the sun, the smell of summer rain, and the coastal fogs frame the interplay of the past and present in Junkins’s seaside reveries. We will publish the poems on the dates included in their titles inviting readers to back to Junkins’s vision of Swan’s Island 20 years later. 

THE TIDE COMES IN: JULY 7

We have gathered rockweed from yesterday’s high waves
and spread it in the sun between the poplar and the deck
to dry for our garden at home, a myriad soufflé
of yellow rubber curls, purple moss and mussels yanked

by the hair from the tide pool floor. From the deck, I
watch the tidal clock tick minor wave by wave,
whitening the basin channels. Two gulls like barrel staves
bob in the rising rockweed soup, eyeing

through water glass the rainbow bottom we have walked
within the hour. They peck and squabble with an underwater life
we cannot see. Their aim is deadly and the end foregone. Brief
summer interludes reveal the private ways we find relief.

~

To read more about Donald Junkins see his obituaries in the Boston Globe and at UMass-Amherst.

As you likely know, these days are particularly challenging for many cultural institutions, publishers, and little magazines. So even if NDQ doesn’t float your boat, If you can, consider buying a book from a small presssubscribing to a literary journal (like our UNP stablemate, Hotel Amerika), or otherwise supporting the arts.

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