In Spring the so-called cherry dogwood,

cornus mas, that crowds the low-

slung corner of the roof, explodes

with a blur of bright canary-colored

flowers, almost the first in sight.

Eight months later I can watch

the surrounding trees, exhausted,

shedding their rusty leaves, some trees

gone bare already—but not the dogwood.

Game as ever, it thrusts toward

the house its foliage pompons,

summer green, within the cover

of which one six-inch woodpecker’s

trying hard to hammer a home in

under the shingles. This won’t work.

The plumage of the bird’s a poor

match for the foliage: white beneath,

with gray-black spots and stripes and a scarlet

accent—looks like an athletic shoe,

with a bobblehead, sounds like an anxious

cobbler or your own head some bad

mornings after. I load my little blue

plastic water pistol, and I shoot it.

~Bob Brooks

Bob Brooks divides his time between Stockton Springs and Concord, Mass. His poems have been published in many journals including The Beloit Poetry Journal, Poetry, The Cafe Review, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, and Rattle; in four chapbooks, most recently Companion Pieces (Finishing Line Press, 2012); and in the full-length collection Unguarded Crossing (Antrim House Books, 2011), short-listed for the 2012 Maine Literary Award in Poetry, and named first runner-up for the 2012 Eric Hoffer Poetry Book Award. He showed up at the last Poetry Jam at Bell the Cat and definitely got my attention.

As the lilacs begin their splendid show, the poetry festival steering committee will shortly announce a celebrity addition to the programming of the 10th Annual Belfast Poetry Festival. We continue to fund-raise for more workshops, a second evening venue combining poetry, music, dance and other performance arts and even more surprises.

The poetry column is curated by Ellen Sander, the Poet Laureate of Belfast, and open to submissions. Send submissions in the body of an email (not an attachment) to Feel free to use that email address to communicate any questions, requests, suggestions or issues about poetry in Belfast. Poet Laureate office hours are Tuesdays at 1 p.m. in the Belfast Free Library third floor conference room.