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. 

June 30 | July 2 | July 3 | July 4 | July 5 | July 7 | July 8 | July 10 | July 11 | Mid-July


Wild roses, overlapping the edge of the deck,
have lost their blooms, and a lone bee moves in vain
from rose-hip to hip the size of peas flecked
with blush, the first traces of Maine’s

second rose blossoms, sunset red, round
as giant marbles, stem-sheathed in green-fanged
Asian stars. For now, swelling without a sound,
the bush is shadow green and black. The faint clang

of the Sunken Money Ledge buoy tolls
the near-end of summer, and the near beach
peas have turned half brown. As the tide rolls
softly in, a gull swoops by, his soft screech

hanging in the air, then once again the late
summer silence of yearning, lifting again that old weight.


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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