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. 

OUR MORNING VIEW: JULY 11, 2001

The fifth day of fog breaks on our eastern shore
in the stillness of our mid-summer
stay, and a lone orange buoy floats on the edge
of white, ninety yards out from our ledge.

Our morning view is a study in onshore black and green
as the sun lifts higher above the fog. Dew glistens
on the undersides of thin birch arms
and in the tamarack fur. A passing gull returns

and banks on a dime to crash the tidal soup
where the seaweed rises from its ropey
curls and floats in yellow fronds. As diamonds bead
the rising cove, the whitest blue appears overhead.

~

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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