For the Sake of the Light
The lantern cleaned and put away
after a long winter, I sit by the window
writing about the last snow
turning to mist beneath the alders.
Long before dawn, I can see
the glacial mountains to the west
flecked with blue and braided silver.
Soon bog candle will bloom in the marsh.
For all our sadness, melancholy and regret,
at times it is possible, even necessary,
to believe we are here for the sake of the light.
Tom Sexton (born 1940)
Despite all that's been said about Sarah Palin in the last 24 hours, I haven't seen anyone address her record as a proponent of poetry. I went looking for information on the Poet Laureate of Alaska, and discovered two things, One, Alaska doesn't have a Poet Laureate, but rather a Writer Laureate, "recognizing and honoring all forms of writing." The current Writer Laureate is John Straley, an award-winning mystery novelist. Two, during her extremely brief tenure as Governor, Palin has not yet had the opportunity to appoint a Writer Laureate; Straley was appointed in October 2006, two months before she took office. So much for that.
Anyway, this is a poem by the last person to be named Poet Laureate before the position was renamed.