CHILDHOOD

poems + drawings ESTHER TAYLOR

These poems are part of a collection inspired by my childhood in Maine. I was born in Orono in 1941, an at-home birth. I grew up on a farm and at a family camp on Pushaw Lake with two brothers. We raised chickens during World War II and potatoes and other veggies. We were subsistence farmers with lots of canning, fishing and hunting to add to our groceries. Dad was a mason and a carpenter as well.

My childhood was outdoorsy, close to nature and idyllic with plenty of time to study local flora and fauna. Those days allowed us the freedom to roam almost anywhere safely and entertainment was self-created. No telephone and no TV. Just one plug-in radio at home and a battery-powered one at camp. Drawing and reading were a large part of self-entertainment. By the time I was 5 I would walk to the library on my own. I still own and enjoy my favorite books—many with Arthur Rackham illustrations and many with poetry.

I continue to draw and write in my retirement after teaching art in public schools for 30 years.

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You Didn't Know

You didn’t know
Eating snow from
Your mittens
At age eight
How precious those crystals
Would be
Frozen now in the ices of
Memory
Nor that the heat of stones
On bare feet
Would sear the senses
Nor the sting of twig
On your cheek
Would be graffiti
On the hallways traveling back
Nor how the splash of the river
Would drench your memories 
With music
Over and over again

2021

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Handmade Doll

Handmade
No name doll
Tall as a toddler
Cuddler
Companion
Tea stained
Tear stained
Witness to
Tantrums
Secrets
Love
Worn and torn
Lost and found
Forever Friend

2021

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Woodpile

Calloused hands
Adept with a chain saw
Quick with an axe and
An effortless swing to
Split sweet every time
The wood stacked with care
A pattern of wedges
Tidy as a quilt
Biggest at the bottom
Smaller at the top
The ends even as
A shelf of books
Birch, poplar, maple, pine
Cedar for kindling
Filling the shed in August
Dwindling by February
Eaten by the fiery
Dragon in the basement
While a tidy new pile of logs
Waits by the garden
To be cut and split for
The rite marking
The cycle of seasons

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