Marilyn Lerch Shares Her Final Poem as the Town’s Poet Laureate

This poem was meant to be read at the Mayor’s New Year’s Levee, but was not able to happen due to the weather.  We hope you enjoy…




When I knew I would stay

And someone wanted me to stay,

When I was given hangers and space

And had alphabetized my books,

When like a strong articulated wing

I was at last connected and free,

Then could I venture forth,

Walk the land where everything was new:


The nameless varieties of grasses on the marsh,

Spring manure heavy in the air,

Autumn blueberry fields turning impossibly red,

A golden procession of tamaracks into winter,

Tidal creeks, lake, bay and ocean close,

And snow, snow, snow.


So much to explore:

British Settlement Road to its dead end,

The trail beyond Slack’s Cove and bike path out to Midgic,

The long hill into Memramcook valley and the quiet

At St. Anne’s church.

Learning to pronounce Shimogue, Miramichi,

That boats from Bermuda had docked at Sackville,

Singing new melodies to old carols and hymns,

Meeting six people I know on the way to the post office,

Having Acadian and MicMaq friends,

Watching the children of friends grow up.

It was childhood revisited in delight and abandon

And I wanted to say everything new.


No wonder a piece of driftwood became

“A god supine, serene on iron juts of rock,

The wind and tide whirling and writing you,

Silver illumined script,

How one wing fully spread anchors you in red mud.”

No wonder the shaping forces of childhood,

Ambivalent mother and a father lost to himself,

The desperate need for and fear of family

Became clarified in this salt sea air.


I finally wore through a pair of shoes I’d walked in forever,

And feet touched ground.

The beauty of two

Could flower into one,

One full moon shared at Beausejour and Mikanos,

One confluence, only the flow

And coming to serenity in the flow.


Marilyn Lerch


Council and Staff would like to thank Marilyn for the past four years as our amazing Poet Laureate!