Poetry- PB

Spring Comes Slowly – Nancy Duffy


Spring comes slowly in these parts ~
           Like an old woman in the produce aisle,
           hungry for new asparagus and fiddleheads
           suspicious of bright strawberries
           too soon, too soon

Spring comes slowly in these parts ~
           Like an old dog  in the morning,
           the scent of night’s rain
            not yet enough to tease him
            from his place by the woodstove
            not yet, not yet

Spring comes slowly in these parts ~
           Like bare trees with empty nests:
            where are nature’s signs?
            “To Let”
            “Coming Soon”

Spring comes slowly in these parts ~
           a photograph of the old summer place
           that was taken back before the war,
                   before the war,

Spring comes slowly in these parts ~
           A lone woman walks with a dog
            towards the shore along a muddy path,
            past where the old summer place used to be,
            looking for signs of Spring.
             but Spring comes slowly  in these parts,
                          Spring comes slowly to these hearts. 

Nancy Duffy

The Lyrics of Spring – Kandace Zollman




The thick crust of winter

     that crystallized life

     holding it captive

Is broken.

In its place run

     splashing veins of ice water

Between the rocks

Along the paths

All singing their freedom

In voices that challenge

    the pounding of the sea.

Frigid night fingers still

    clutch at puddles

    scratching gossamer designs

But as morning sun

    drips over the horizon

Winter shrinks further

    and further away

Covering her ears

    to escape the

    delighted voices of 



Kandace Zollman



The Moon to Her Godchild – Marjorie Mir

  The Moon to Her Godchild                    

 On the birthnight of her seventh year
the child, Selene, has escaped
to the tree-circled pond
where she and her namesake meet.

 Tonight she finds a gift of twisted silver,
kneeling, immerses her arm to receive it,
circlet of light, birthstone of water,
the fluent elements in which they speak.

 Accepted in these offerings,
evanescence is a constant,
the thread that joins their names.

 Marjorie Mir

Full Moon Night – Larry Wilson


 last night the full moon rose like a silver island
anchored in a moody sea of cloud, first calm, then storming
bright lighthouse, clear signal, safe haven, tall highland
last night the full moon rose like a silver island
over your distant sea and, landlocked, my land
there was a warm wind blowing, first blessing, then warning
and the moon rode ever higher, a distant silver island
anchored in a moody sea of cloud, first calm, then storming.

 Larry Wilson

Luna Reprise – Marilyn Ringer


I remember you
rising above the surf,
your shadow an amber’d river,
the three blue spruces edged in ash,
your unrequited pearl light bluing
the figures of summer houses
suddenly full of languorous ambition.

 Marilyn Ringer

Stay – Nancy Duffy



have you often awakened
on a foggy morning,
so muffled and still,
and wondered if you have 
lost your hearing?

the voice from your dream echoes
the voice on the wind
in the very top of the trees whispers
the deep voice
of the far away tide calls
the muskrat
from under the woodpile
pleads with its eyes
a voice you remember from summer
asks, wordlessly,

have you often listened,
on a foggy morning,
so muffled and still,
to the voice of the island,
just beyond your hearing?

Nancy Duffy



Spring Migration – R.A. Szostek


At first only silhouettes, too distant for detail.
They approach, exhausted from the long journey.
The flight, across miles charted only within them,
is soon to be over for a while.
Do they feel a sense of joy at the sight of the island?
A sense of joy that mirrors what I feel
on my return?
Once again, they are on terra firma.
They surely must feel immeasurable relief.
Now, a search for food and welcome rest.

What fragile forms, yet they endure.
Covered in feathered concoctions of color,
or muted in camouflage hues,
they unleash their voices in glorious song.
They thrill us with their presence,
we who come to witness this mystery.
For us, time and patience may bring
a long awaited gift of sight and sound.
We will tell of the time on Monhegan
when the timeless migration
of season Spring had begun.

R.A. Szostek


A Letter Never Mailed – Pieter Dominick


(in memoriam)

I cannot find any tracks of birds
In the snow this morning
But by the feeder – a trace of someone there.
Could a seed fall in this great whirl of snow?
Never! A small live foot had been and left its mark.

Late August one hot day
I rowed our dory to the fishing place.
I did not fish but sat there anchored –
Rock…rock…rock…and thanked a sea gull
For his angry cry.

November I raked leaves
And laid them in a neat pile
By the privet hedge for compost.
I stopped to admire them once in a while
Polished red or yellow, flexible and not quite

Now it’s winter, frozen
And pale with snow.
Deer leap up to their middles
And field mice huddle in the gullies below.
Snow keeps on coming.
When I turn out the light,
Alone in my small bed and the dark,
I wish then that snow would fall…fall…
Cover the whole house and leave me smothered !

But when April’s here
And I open the door, I just stand looking.
Everything’s green, and I know then
You have come halfway
To meet me.

Pieter Dominick, from Seed Syllables, and Other Poems

Duologue – James Cundy, Ed Moffitt



As the world floats into darkness

Shadows go their lonely way

Eyes are closed

No one speaks

Total serenity

James Cundy


hot coffee and english muffins

                        -on the rocks-

cool early morning light

dissolving the wall of

                  night’s deep shadow

Ed Moffitt

Beach Glass – a Pantoum – Larry Wilson


The shock, the joy of recognition
Green or aqua, sometimes brown, occasionally blue
Fragments sanded soft, glass hissed into jewels
Plucked from sandy shore on a summer’s day

Collage of colour, a mason jar full
The shock, the joy of recognition
Finding something precious, unexpected
Fragments sanded soft, glass hissed into jewels

A handful. a pocketful of paled sapphire, emerald
Collage of colour, a mason jar full
The pleasure of the rare – “Look! I’ve found a blue one!”
Finding something precious, unexpected

Discovered on the most traveled and commonplace of beaches.
A handful, a pocketful, of paled sapphire, emerald
Valued, treasured – no real reason (the seeing, the finding is enough)
The pleasure of the rare – “Look, I’ve found a blue one!”

Green or aqua, sometimes brown, occasionally blue
Discovered  on the most traveled and commonplace of beaches
Plucked from sandy shore on a summer’s day
Valued, treasured – no real reason (the seeing, the finding is enough)

Larry Wilson


 FOUR HAIKU FOR SPRING                                 

Why these thoughts of spring?

    Is it the smell of the air,

           the light on the snow?


 For spring gardening,     

      to shake out the dried loam

           from last fall’s shoes.


Clear weather at last!

     The gray hills are green again 

          & five miles nearer.


He lies in the grass

    & feels the kite above him

          tugging at the string.

Marjory Bates Pratt

Written on the Mainland – Jean Gowdey



In all the moss-deep silences,
And all the dappled wells
Of silence, gray and green and gold,
In closely woven spells

 The trees make, in the island’s heart–
Still half-uncaptured we
Within ourselves must hear the sound
Of slanting, murmurous sea.

 It is an island’s value that
Each least thing, stone or grass,
Is framed with that immensity,
That forceful nakedness.

 There is no ocean here, there’s no
Eclipse or emphasis.
But surely there is time and space
Surrounding now and this.

 Then think no single moment here,
But think the whole; and we
Shall be more calm and more amazed
Remembering the sea.

 Jean Gowdey


The Comfort of a Smooth Stone – Betsy Kudlacz


 I collected stones
like friends
filled empty shelves with
chunks of mountain granite
their feldspar blushing pink in mica mirrors,
crinoids, trilobites, brachipods
those hard bodies of Ordovician sea stuff,
gaping mouths of geodes flashing sharp crystal teeth,
odd lumps of pock-marked pumice,
a smorgasbord of conglomerate.

 I collect friends
like stones
carefully choosing
the smooth gray oval
one that fits comfortably
in the palm of my hand
for company on an autumn beach walk
only to slip into my pocket
upon turning home.

 Betsy Kudlacz

Stones – Bonnie Enes

Epigraph: In winter a stone is frozen in place 
when there is a thaw there is a space underneath 
that fills in with dirt lifting the stone
the stone doesn’t work its way up to the surface. 
Robert Thorson, Stone by Stone



Robert Thorson has a thing for stones.
Moved here from the mid west 
where there aren’t many stones
impressed with New England stone walls
he put it all down on paper.

 My daughter piles stones 
one on top of the other 
around her yard 
I tell her, I read they are prayers.

 A friend collects stones–
when we take canoe trips 
he lays fat stones in the bottom 
of the canoe. In his house
there’s no rain to rise off dust
no rain water against stone 
to wear away minerals
adding them to soil. 
Just rooms of dusty stones.

 Charlie, an artist, owned a house 
in Chester, CT
There was a hurricane, 
the water rushed quickly down 
the hill into his back yard
moving the stone foundation
out onto the front yard.
He piled stones
named them for characters 
from books, walked around 
in his straw hat 
looking like Van Gogh,
sold the house [had to].
The new owners disposed 
of his stones into the brook 
that meanders by–he had 
a thing for stones,    
the new owners didn’t.

 If you walk around 
Monhegan Island
lovers of stones have
stone by stone
created prayers.

 Not having a thing 
for stones but for 
natural things– 
a large piece of birch bark  
flowers, plants, bowl 
of broken China shards  
found on tide lines
18” wide turtle shell 
dug out of a swamp
copper plate holding her bones
a few Maine stones 
with sharply contrasted veins
little of 
this    little of 

 I wonder about those 
who collect stones— 
they hold on hard to something   
to someone.
I don’t possess the grit to hold on 
to that slipping a
way    of some
thing    of some

 Then there is the nature of poetry.

Bonnie Enes

Sleepwalkers: Monhegan Island – Marjorie Mir



They are unseen presences on the road,
passing each other unaware
on paths narrowed by aster and bayberry
opening to the sea.

They are walking through what was,
step surely over tangles of juniper,
shifting stones
toward a day of particular happiness,
of clear, full-throated praise.

Far inland, wrapped and sheltered,
they are moving through returning light,
air that has since touched other islands,
circled back and back again,
apple-scented, resin-keen.

Far inland, the sleeping faces give no sign
they have gone away,
their journey as lightly taken,
as easy as the flight of seeds.

Marjorie Mir

That Janus Month – Jan Bailey


Harry ambles by in his red
blanket coat, circles his houses,
mending, tending. Rita rouses
to her routine and makes for Carina
though Newt has left the island,
his flying speech run off into silence.
The clock ticks; a few finches
worry about cats. Today there is
no sea but for the seeing.
Seamless time, like a cupped
hand reaching backwards into air
or a long letter folding over
on its own, quickly,  before I
can memorize the lines; like
a face floating by a window,
a smell on the tip of the tongue;
like web. The heart quickens;
the eyes dart, take notice; the mind
pulls out its scrap of paper
and pen, but by then it is evening
and the red sky above Manana
burns away any chance at restraint.
I click on the tv, to get grounded,
to name the day, to say aloud..
“Ah, yes, this has happened, history
is.” But the moon circles, the stars
slipslide, the trees have long ago
surrendered. If I too let go,
and I will, there will be the piper
to pay: one flash and it is June
and the flag whipping above the Inn,
my days numbered, again, again that
Janus month, that longing
to be lost, and losing.

Jan Bailey

January Snow – L.E. Wilson


 A New Year’s snow, the snow untouched, the road
is forked ahead, without a footprint or
a track. The winter-morning shadows lean
and indicate the right, but we want left
where no one lives in winter, ‘round the bend
and down the hill, a shuttered cottage on

 the cove. It’s hard to visualize this cold
and storm across the island, somehow, for
I know it only by its summer preening.
How do fields endure the frosty heft
of snow? How hard to walk to pathway’s end
when ice is in the ruts? How late comes dawn?

 I’m not naive. I know it’s bleak, remote
in winter, but, I want to catch the boat.

 L.E. Wilson

Winter Solstice – Jan Bailey

 WINTER SOLSTICE                        

          for Jeb                      

 The full moon floats in a cauldron
of white. Along the bank, birches
snatch at the boy as he skates
the pond, dizzy with speed. His
mother clings to the sidelines
where the ice is more transparent,
where she can judge the depth
by twig and frozen leaf while he
lunges far ahead, arms pumping the
air, his wide satchel of days
strapped to his shoulders
like gold he bears into the future.

 Up and down the pond, sequined 
with late snow, he shapes his
crazy 8s, all boy grin and wide
eye, lean as the trees and tall
weeds that ting their ice capade.
And she knows in her heart
she will lose him, glance up
from the fringes to find him
erased, absorbed into light like
a shadow, she loved and released.

 Jan Bailey

Island Pond Has Frozen – Jim Stallings


 Island pond has frozen
But not enough for skaters.
Weather says:
Three to five inches
Of white stuff,
Rain and sleet.

 Hunker down, Hearth Huggers,
Bolster forth, Brave Hearts.

 Yes, we are dreamers
of winter full,
Still shy the solstice
When time hangs still
Twixt shorter nights
And longer days to come–

 And Lo! Our bonfires
Beckon the sun
From the dark ocean,
As our faces turn
East in faith.

 Jim Stallings

Talisman – Gus Bombard


 The rough rock path
Worn to a V by worshipful throngs
Meanders like confused pilgrims
Over this fragile island face.

 As I trace the way, I meet them–
Fellow-seekers, and nod
My head in recognition.
I see the peaceful pleasure in them
That I searched for, found,
And hold again.

 Holy touchstone, worry rock,
Portal to faith, we are here,
Acolytes in time and space,
Sure of your force,
Your constant, timeless solace.

 Gus Bombard