Poetry-Old

September – Jan Bailey

SEPTEMBER

 And now the slow slide into autumn:
the thinning crickets, the monarchs
moving weightless among us like orange
angels, the tight-lipped rose hips;
the brown curl of aspen leaf, the bikes
tossed willy-nilly on the schoolhouse
lawn. Even the shadows slide, like blue 
cloaks about the apple trees. Now 
the mornings deepen; the meadow glints
of scraggle weed and thorn and a 
russet splatter of barberry sweeps in
among the spruce. September, like
the hem of a dress moving easy
through the grass, and we running
alongside, tune our engines, whip-
whine our saws, rattle the storm
windows from the cellar, backhoe
our wells, wrap our buoys in their
day-glow dresses. We, running 
alongside, bent on keeping pace,
our eyes focused on the road ahead,
our ears thrumming.

 Jan Bailey

Reprinted from Paper Clothes, Emrys Press, 1995.

Sea Change – Shirley Williams Homes

SEA CHANGE

 the summer house is life on a different plane
old rules do not apply
long days of idleness are not suspect
an hour’s walk along the sand
or the digging of clams for half a day
are looked upon as industry
to be applauded or disdained
according to one’s view of life
as seen from the beach chair
we give each other galaxies of space
and watch no clocks
we eat when we are hungry
and sleep when we must
in touch with our circadian selves
our talk is gentle discourse
no louder than the shore birds
nor as filled with news
we city ants
become grasshoppers for a time
in the joy of simple pleasure
we are improvident

 Shirley Williams Homes
from Lost & Found, Prose and Poetry

Reprinted by permission of the author

“Monhegan Winds” – Marjorie Mir

                     

                     “Monhegan Winds” 

                     For Jim Guinness

 
Jim’s music
carries on its crest the day I first heard it
blowing west through the Barnacle’s door.
Listening again, listening each time
I see low-tide rocks, dozing mammoths
in their shag of amber kelp,
drifts of Kathy’s snow-in-summer
filling roadside gullies,
the bluest of island days.

 This Sunday morning, months and miles inshore,
a carillon sends a hymn crosstown
through bare-limbed trees,
hoops, hibachis, picnic tables.
of littered and deserted yards.

 By luck, I  can name two places
my heart’s home,
one, this house, these rooms
where, wind, sail and skiff, Jim’s music
carries me close as I may come in life
to the ancients’ Blessed Isle.

 Marjorie Mir

Capstan Chantey – Matt Williamson

 CAPSTAN CHANTEY                        
(after hours)                             

 memories gather thick and random
no more welcome than
gnats whirring over the moss
on the fragrant hummock
the old pine left in dying

 i was thirty then just finding life
uneasily blissful in my new
and doomed marriage
a late bloomer
husbanding trouble and strife

 that warm atlantic night kathy sang
‘I Went Down to Sammy’s Bar”
in a little room at the yew
wine bloom smoke thick
bellowed but so perfect

 blew me into another time
another life
(in canvas pants
back straining in the sun)
and my own life just beginning

 hey the last boats are going.

 Matt Williamson

Dinner at Six, Monhegan House – RuthAnn Szostek

DINNER AT SIX, MONHEGAN HOUSE

 It became a memorable first gathering.
Monhegan the meeting place,
the group of four, old friends
and new, together.
A toast to making acquaintances and
the good fortune of being on island.
The time honored ritual of breaking bread,
as conversation and wine flow through the evening.

 With fond memories, and these words,
I salute you, and your counterparts,
Sisterhood of Seasoned Souls.
As you read, you will recognize yourselves,
those who were present for dinner at six,
and those who were not.
Those who have joined company on the island in times past,
and for all who journey toward a gathering,
for a warm welcome awaits your arrival.

 You know who you are, dear ones.
Forged by the life experience,
having had your mettle tested,
you meet life head on.
No princesses here,
only Warhorses,
in the finest meaning of the word.
Strong of spirit, dependable, loyal and dedicated.
If your soul is in danger of drowning in the midst of disaster,
they will throw you a life line, and, by God,
they won’t let you sink!
They are your best companions during troubling times,
and in your most joyous moments.

 Like this island where they meet,
their souls are rugged and fit, yet in many ways,
fragile and delicate.
They encourage and comfort.
They nurture and inspire,
with spoken word, and in their silence.

 They recognize one another,
for a bonding existed before a physical meeting.
Time shared is filled with abundant laughter,
some tears, much meaningful conversation.
As though Gifts to one another,
they unwrap and untether themselves,
absorbing from one another new experiences
and familiar feelings.
An innocuous time, safe, profoundly innocent and life altering.
They are ever changing, open,
accepting of their lives as they play out,
on paths taken, some intentional, some not,
but all leading to a crossroad here, on this island.
A place of paths crossing, to share and be strengthened,
before once again,
now forsaking apprehension,
they venture off on their separate ways.

 R.A. Szostek

The Ripening – Thais Gloor

The Ripening

 Oh, where’s the pail?
No, the berry pail…
Ah, there it is –
Grab it and run

 The sun is high
It is warm
It is
the end
of July

 I am dreaming of pie!

 Toasty warm,
fragrant
delicious
blueberry pie

 from my tasty warm
fragrant
delicious
blueberry patch kind of day
today

 Thais Gloor

A Walk on Monhegan:an Excerpt – George Anthony

              A Walk on Monhegan: an Excerpt

 The path opens to tote road
leaving wood-dusk with the sweet 
odors of fir balsam
and skunk cabbage. 
A wood-cock churrs.

The village is washed and fragrant
(fresh home-made bread and butter
in the garden)
The morning-glories and the lady
of the morning glory,
the loping young man
in floppy rubber boots share
no emotion he can share
no thought except themselves except
themselves they share
opening like the open air,
pleasing him by knowing his name.
The brown-haired girl
(as the hair rumples down
sunlight brushes gold)
grows to a daughter as she turns
her head to look,
her smile to answer.

 George Anthony
from The Road to Deadman Cove.
Reprinted by permission.                        

The View from Above: Monhegan House, 7 A.M.

 The View from Above: Monhegan House, 7 A.M.

 
Into the small frame, modest landscape
of yellow garden hose,
overturned red barrow,
the settled gray of shingled houses,
early lettuce bedded out,
lilacs at crescendo,  
here she comes, trotting at a pony’s pace,
a young girl in a striped knit cap,
pom-pom bobbing on a string,
not sure where it’s going
but, like a horseman on a runaway,
gamely holding on.
Look again and she is out of view,
too quick for a pencil sketch,
so quick even these few lines
can barely pin her to the page.

 Marjorie Mir

_____

The First Long Nap I’ve Had in Years – Lauren Cerruto

THE FIRST LONG NAP I’VE  HAD IN YEARS

 On the third floor of the Island Inn,
a room no larger than a minute,
the small bed filling the room,
I lay down. White walls, the white
of steamed milk, whiter trim
on the window, its white shade
half-closed, half-closed white
curtain rippling.
Me on the white down
spread, pillows
also white and more
than necessary.

 Like sentinels or angels
wicker chairs stand
on either side of the window.
In the chairs are
a pair of pillows, their fabric
worn and translucent
violet, like the sea-glass
earrings I wanted
from the shop below.

 Outside the window, the world
is cropped to just tips
of evergreens and roofs of fish shacks.
Their needles and shingles,
like everything else, have dropped
below the sight-line, vanished
the same as boats moored on the harbor
this morning when they
submitted to the fog.

 Lauren Cerruto

In This Room – Lucia Weinhardt

IN THIS ROOM

    Waking to the peace of an untethered

               white light in the tiny room

                     I’ll call my own for this

                             island in time,

the morning breeze billows the lace beside my

comfortable bed and I am rested in a way that

           I cannot be except when I am here

                             in this place,

                                 at peace.

                 I am still, not burdened

                   with a single urgency

                            on this day,

            and I wallow most pleasantly

               in long, mellow thoughts:

                   morning daydreams,

                       an easy jumble of

paths to be trod, vistas to be discovered anew,

the sound of the surf, the scent of seaweed and salt in the thick morning air,

          the sweet, soft cushion of a million pine needles beneath my feet,

the simple good fun of becoming a ten year old again as I step warily onto an old

                      board stretching across a questionable pool of mud…

                                  and still, for a moment more, I lay still

                                     between the smooth cotton sheets

                                               reveling in the knowledge

                                                            that I am so

                        safe and at peace in this tiny room by the sea,

                                               welcoming the day

        as the morning breeze billows the lace beside my comfortable bed.

Lucia Weinhardt

Monhegan Summer Day – Jim Stallings

MONHEGAN SUMMER DAY

Reflections from the Pierce House Porch

Primroses

Chrysanthemums,

Phlox

Artemisia

Marsh grass yellow, brown, green

Swallows’ orange breasts, slate gray backs

Seascapes

Crashing surf

Lobster traps

Stacked five high

Laundry on lines

Graveyard stones

Face the village and harbor

From 18th century

Brackett Pierce Trefethren Fir trees Starling Orne

Wait staff time off

Sitting out in sun

Drinking beer

Smoking cigarettes

Island guy in truck stops

Dog in front seat

Gray house white trim

Columbine

Fir trees blue shadows

Beatles’ Let it Be

On radio from Carina

Young girl at counter

Face looming in shadows

Time food love beauty

Clerks take imprisonment well

Twittering swallows over grasses

Red wing blackbird

Fluttering in grasses

After a roll

In dirt on road

working cat

Slipping into marsh

Starfish bleached white

sun setting

Deep purple cool

On Monhegan as

Sweet night falls.

Jim Stallings

A Summer Afternoon in the Black Duck – Matt Kiell

A SUMMER AFTERNOON  IN THE BLACK DUCK

 (In Memory of Mandy)

 The cat wants in and
The dog wants out
A summer resident from Boston
pops in to catch up

 The cat slips in but
The dog curls up
A day tripper from Kittery
wants a cappuccino, sweet

 The dog finds her frisbee
The cat gets stroked
By a mother (babe in backpack)
sitting down on the steps

 The cat claws the screen
The dog wants out
Two year-round island women
plan a party tonight

 The cat slips in as
The dog slips out with
The gal behind the counter who
slings the toy across the green

 The cat — wait, it’s another cat…
the dog snags the frisbee
The weekly renter in Treetops
buys a tiny lobster boat

 The new cat wants out
The old cat wants in
The dog biting the frisbee
gallops back to the store

 The cat sits, undecided
The dog licks the cat…then wants in
Ten birders with binoculars
buy Monhegan trail maps
The dog wants out

 Now the cat wants in and
The dog wants out
Another customer with a smile
checks the postcards and books

 Matt Kiell

Hiking Monhegan – Susan Davis

HIKING MONHEGAN

A deer trail tapers

to a dead end.

No view of the harbor, nor of the ocean.

Such a small island,

I must be somewhere.

No map.

Surrounded by tall pines

and a soft carpet of brown needles.

I’ve been lost in these woods before,

following a thinning path

as the thicket closed behind me.

There’s a field to the east,

through the brambles and low branches.

Surer here,

in the middle of nowhere,

than the familiar landscape

of my home

where I rail against the obstructed view,

not content to leave to faith

the promise of a grassy clearing.

Susan Davis

 

Monhegan Trails – Susan Davis

MONHEGAN TRAILS

 Each year, the General Store sells a map
marked in black dashes or solid,
distinguishing ‘good’ from ‘fair’ to ‘poor’ trail,
‘moderate’ from ‘difficult’ path.
I travel all the same,
not judging flat, or steep and rocky,
seeking the best place
to view the horizon,
never knowing what’s beyond the edge
where the sun melts like butter
on a hot muffin.

 I retrace my steps every year,
where I napped, where I wrote,
whatever was most wanting…

 Squeaker Cove, jagged cliffs
scattering waves to spray and foam,
or the smooth quiet of Seal ledges
where ocean gently nudges shore.

 Urgency of surf on one coast,
the ease of the other.
Midwives both to poetry.

 Susan Davis

Late Spring, Monhegan – Jenny Greenleaf

LATE SPRING, MONHEGAN

 Urgent old ferry girl.
determined through the rollers
hurled at her from Nova Scotia.
Never ending engine drumbeats on,
surging through suffocating fog.
Holding the gunnels to feel your pulse–
deliver me up to Monhegan.

 First step on is surrender.
Second step on is the end of
measured time.

 The innocence of the flowers
left to dance uninhibited
in spring frenzy, wild wonder,
unharmed by any indifference.
The singing of waters, and
the breathing of trees.
The incense of evergreen,
and the colors of hard light.

 Slip on that root that looks like gold
out on the Red Ribbon path
and fall into total mystery.

 Raven laughs from skeleton tree, white
with the salt of knowing.

 Passing through, not staying,
flying their royal banners:
Indigo Bunting,
Scarlet Tanager,
Goldfinch,
Bob-o-link,
Grosbeak with the Rose Breast,
Oriole…I hold my breath each time.

Passing through, not staying,
much like a critical part of me that
perennially appears, like the lupine,
if only for a time.

 Jenny Jensen Greenleaf

From Staithes, in Yorkshire – Larry Wilson

From Staithes, in Yorkshire

so we have found a substitute, not quite
perfection, just serene approximate
not quite an island—not an isle at all
unless one thinks of isolation as
the definition. Hard to get there—isn’t
that enough?—dense with evacuees

from cities. Cliffs, and rock-pools, August light
relentless, probing, honest, intimate
the gulls scream day and night, and twilight falls
like blessing,  lingers late. The village has
a reputation for its art, and doesn’t
turn away those hungry for the sea

three thousand miles away to east, and more
faint greeting echoed from a distant shore

Larry Wilson

Island Cottage – Marjorie Mir

ISLAND COTTAGE

for Frances Vaughan

 Over the years and many visits,
since no one was at home,
imagination was my entry,
allowed me morning coffee 
on the small front deck,
the privilege of touching down lightly,
lingering there.

 Today an invitation came
from the poet
whose cottage it happens to be.
Inside, it is trig and trim
as a small ship’s cabin.
Paintings give life to its whiteness
and, from every window,
we look out on the leeward sea.

 Today, dream and reality
have met most happily.

I thank her for making it so.

 Marjorie Mir

First Warm Night – Larry Wilson

FIRST WARM NIGHT

 come, let us sleep with windows wide tonight
a salty breeze like silk upon the skin
the birds will wake us early, and the dog
will want her walk and breakfast–come to bed
my love, and dream of sippng wine beneath
the flowering island trees. This narrow slice

 of year is precious, fleeting, when the light
is waxing, weather warming, when the tinny
chill of winter blurs to distant fog
in memory. Come, marvel now instead
at silvered waves and sand, the moon bequeathing
magic to the midnight seashore. Nice

 to sleep on such a night, beside my one
and only love, when workday’s tasks are done.

 Larry Wilson

Saying It – Pieter Dominick

SAYING IT

 Yellow forsythia has opened
in arboreal silence
above daffodils.

 From dark branches
and dry ground
come thin-skinned
flower tissues – organic
star cups and trumpets
alive with root juice
and small perfumes.

 Again the green calligraphy
of leaves uncurled and
the odorless foliage of
tender species all around
like limelight, white double
tint of lime.

 Like the word love that 
opens slowly as a leaf.

Pieter Dominick
from Seed Syllables, and Other Poems

Pour – Judy Weber

Pour

 From mind to page,
page to mind,
or light

 through window.
Fluid
like a swallow flight

 lip of pitcher, lifted,
tilted

 as land tilts
to sea,
as sea is tipped by tide
onto the shore,
 everything spills
into something else

 These buttercups pour yellow
on the grass;
the snake flows

 from his skin.
My pencil spills

 these words.
You, reading them,
splash a little of yourself

 back into me.

 Judy Weber, from Island Voices, by permission of the author