Roger Finch
2011 Maine Senior Poet Laureate

Roger Finch, 74, Cape Neddick, succeeds himself as Maine Senior Poet Laureate, which award he won in 2010 for “He’s Leaving Home.” He is a retired university professor of Linguistics. Roger has published three books of poetry; also, numerous scholarly articles on phonology and comparative linguistics. His poetry books are According to Lilies (Carcanet), Fox in the MorningStations of the Sun (Somerset Hall). His sign is Aries.


           I finally showed up a full week
after my father was ‘laid to rest,’ darkening
           my sister’s door with flowerless hands.
She had to work, and could I find the mill creek

           that divided the new cemetery plots
from the old? Seeing my eyes so easily
           erased, she acceded a rough map,
marking ‘here’ with an ‘oh!’ of pain in the slots

           of her face. After hours of request
in place and place, halted before every fresh
           or spic-and-span bouquet, I found it
at last on a hillside’s high crest, the freshest

           mound of earth in a newly cleared
atrium among the woods. Unduly unsigned,
           anonymous, unencumbered by
even the simplest metal badge, it appeared

           to be explicitly by default
of any outward mark. There he wallows, on
           those accumulated sheets of earth’s
primeval past, as he wallowed in the salt

           of life, spending fast as he was spent.
All at once layers of spleen and hatred well;
           and fall, too old to matter. And then
regret strangles my eye with streaks of scent.

Roger Finch