Edited and introduced by Gibson Fay-LeBlanc.

For the New Year, here’s a poem that offers us a new start amid turmoil and deterioration. If we follow the poem’s instructions, we should pay attention to the natural world: still beautiful, not yet gone.

Stuart Kestenbaum is the Maine state poet laureate and lives in Deer Isle. His most recent book of poems is “Only Now” (Deerbook Editions, 2014).

How to Start Over

By Stuart Kestenbaum

We knew that things were deteriorating.

Gothic houses collapsing, sharks patrolling the lagoons,

the born-again ministers warning of an immediate conflagration.

All the flights to paradise had been cancelled and even

pinhole cameras weren’t letting light in.

It got to be so bad we didn’t want to listen to the news anymore,

where all we were doing was gawking at someone else’s trouble.

It wasn’t worth the effort. Where was the satisfaction we longed for?

We couldn’t sleep so would spend all night watching the full moon’s

beams cement themselves to the silky water and travel for miles

on the waves. Someone was rowing along the shore,

and in the silver light the evergreens were shaking slightly.

At the edge of the forest the thistles

were attaching themselves to the fur of animals.

What serendipity to hitch a ride to your future.

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is Portland’s poet laureate. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2016 Stuart Kestenbaum. It appears here by permission of the author. For an archive of all the poems that have appeared in this column, go to www.pressherald.com/tag/deep-water.

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