Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine poet laureate.

This week’s poem by the late Constance Hunting, a Maine poet and editor, describes a monkey she has trained to sit and write. What the monkey represents, she is not here to explain, of course. All we know is that she admires the “strange marks” the monkey makes, and that the two of them work together.

The Pet

By Constance Hunting

O say see

look at my lit


tle monkey

she so puzzled and charming

with that almost human frown

she sits in her lit

tle chair

at her little table


she holds a pen

she is writing

making strange

marks on the white

petalled paper

I am very proud


of her

she is coming

along very nicely

but sometimes

chatters more

than I prefer


and would tear up the page

chew it to bits

did I not interfere

always calmly and stroke

her down

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2000 Constance Hunting. Reprinted from “Natural Things: Collected Poems 1969-1998, The National Poetry Foundation,” 2000, by permission of Sam Hunting. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc at mainepoetlaureate@gmail.com or 228-8263. “Take Heart: Poems from Maine,” an anthology collecting the first two years of this column, is now available from Down East Books.

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