A Collection of Poems: Mother Maine, Resilience, Between Disciplines
By Michelle de Leon
Ecology and Environmental Sciences Department, University of Maine
National Science Foundation Research Traineeship on Conservation Science
Maine is a place
where I’m leaning into a state of tension.
Clouds flood me as I navigate
where is home.
Who is home here?
She meanders from the shore
to her North woods,
welcoming us to listen to her wisdom.
She introduces us to a dynamic stillness
where many craft images of quiet.
Open space. Salty views. Balsam sweetness.
And I still don’t know where my home is.
I know where a portrait of our mother hangs
in my mind, all the while
she changes every second.
Histories spring from her countryside and fall
into our laps. You’ll find me among
the crashing blues and vibrant reds. At a spot where birds pair off,
I’m coupling my humanity with their nature.
Is this when we name her Everlasting?
Her colors fade a little later,
her summer kisses linger longer, and
her hugs feel warmer than we remember.
Did you and I do this? Perhaps this is her flow
or perhaps her rivers invite us to envision resolutions.
The morning sunrise whispers a sweet
change is constant.
If I sit with her mantra, could I rise and fall like her?
The brightness paints something reassuring and terrifying
in its vulnerability for us all to see, dragging a finger in
the sand to shape stress-and-surprise cycles.
Two steps back shift me
two steps in the right direction.
Watching the sure tides,
wanting familiar feelings,
waiting for what’s next,
what if—hear me out—what if we transform?
(May) our goals gift us legs
built to jump back.
If growth were linear, could I pretend it made sense?
The curves connect you and
me, me and them, them and that.
Somewhere, we’ll reap our potential.
Even though it’s messy like wet sneakers on the beach,
it’ll be better than we’ve ever dreamt.
A shiny new machine, a little birdy
tells me this is innovation.
He chirps his pitch, yet I’m not quite
sold on how it’s wired when I’m
hardwired to hear a story from
A friend I still haven’t met.
Will you join hands with me and teach me
how to weave your past into our present? Let this
fabric embrace us through seasons of blooms and sheds.
Listening to each other’s rhythm, we uncover budding differences and
color new directions on the map.
Give yourself permission to go ‘cross your field, collecting
tools and something blue,
and I’ll help break ground around that same ol’ song.
Messy entanglements arise
yet with you,
fades away into
We dance across silos when I witness
how our collective embodies a promise peeping over the tree line.
Complexity simplifies into a lingua franca, and we begin to trust
how our novel scraps shine brighter than his dull machine.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1828466.