Poetry

A CONCERT, IN MEMORY

A CONCERT, IN MEMORY

They have gathered here,

To listen and recall,

A quartet of remaining friends,

In her cove-side cottage,

Once a summer home,

Then her last,

The sea, through its windows,

A triptych.

“A life,” the pianist, a great niece, says.

She begins with Brahams’ Lullabye.

Follows with Schman’s “Scenes from Childhood,

An Impromptu.

A pause for shared recollections;

Island children, summer children,

She still in their midst

All leaping like goats

Across the rocks, those rocks

Just below the deck.

The pianist takes up the story

With a Chopin Waltz,

An Intermezzo. Chopin again,

A Nocturne.

Last, Franz Liszt’s Consolation.

They brush gently against each other,

Hands, shoulders touching,

Each aware their number might be smaller

When they meet again.

The ferry will carry them

To the mainland, then home,

A safe passage.

They stand watch looking islandward

Until its outline disappears.

Dockside, grown grandchildren wait them

as their voices blend in counterpoint

Holding off departure:

“So glad,,,”

“The weather held.”

“A perfect day.”

“I only wish…”

“I know.”

Marjorie Mir

The Monhegan Mail Boat

With boat bags and sunscreen the day-trippers ride.

They’ve binoculars, cameras and charts for the tide.

They point and exclaim…are excited and merry As they board the Mail-Boat…that small island ferry!

It brings hikers and bikers and workers with tools…

Boxes of books and equipment for schools…

Tourists and artists and family and friends…

Supplies for the stores and groceries in bins.

This tie to the mainland…this all-mighty link Is precious to everyone…just stop and think!

‘The Mail Boat’ sounds simple…but it’s heart and soul… It keeps the community healthy and whole!

It carries prescriptions, it carries the beer… If it’s on the island, that boat bought it here!

Things for repairs…a piece or a part

To fix up a roof or a car that won’t start!

When you live on an island you have to rely On the Mail-Boat and crew to always supply Everything keeping the island life going No matter the waves or the wildest winds blowing!

The Mail Boat’s the life blood…the binding, the glue… It holds folks together and it’s always true…

That with all else they do, they still never fail….

With every trip out…they bring all the mail.

Poetry by Sue Shaw

A Green Winter on Monhegan

Image by Barbara Hitchcock

The Selchie

Image by Rebecca Fitzpatrick with poetry by Marjorie Mir

THE SELCHIE

An islander like themselves,

they had seen her before,

basking on the harbor rocks,

swimming in this cove,

home waters to them all.

Now they see a stranger,

a half-grown, slender girl,

naked like themselves.

She sits looking down at them

as they play,

cousins. friends since earliest times.

Beside her lies the heap

of their discarded shirts and shorts.

Her own, just shed, lies wrinkled

at her feet.

She watches, studying

their movements, moving

her own new arms and legs

in imitation, then

makes her way, uncertainly

down the rocky ledges

to join them in their play.

“A summer visitor,” they guess.

Afterward, hurrying into

sun-warmed clothes,

racing toward cottages

and breakfast, only one,

the last and youngest,

sees the unclaimed silver pelt,

looks back for her,

will always in this place,

in years to come, look for her.

Like Ondine, like Yeats’ silver trout

turned blossom-crowned,

elusive girl, she had escaped

the bonds of story, found the rift,

if only briefly, between myth and mortal.

Where to look for her? Not here,

not on this island.

She belongs again to the poets,

the story-tellers, the ancient liars

who will happily lead you astray.

Look for her, if you dare,

but be wary of the fog

that comes in suddenly,

hiding the paths, obscuring the ledges.

No, she is not that cairn or boulder,

fallen branch.

The sound you hear of barking laughter

comes from the ones who know.

Their skins, like anoraks,

proof against all weathers,

all but summer’s Dulce Domum call

to plunge weightless in its waters,

play a little while with mortals,

then vanish into legend

still courting all pursuit.

– Marjorie Mir

ISLANDS

I am drawn to them
in books, in memory
one much visited,
small, habitable, easily traversed,
remembered, rediscovered,
the mingled smells
of sea and soil.

They may rise up
from the seabed of sleep,
from restless origins,
defiant cliffs transmute
to gentling foothills,
village yards.

Fixed in time
or changing hourly,
weather always the one
most wished-for,
the season chosen for its gifts,
its special gifts: the silenced wood,
the yielding soil, new grass,
wild apples, signalling
their readiness.

They are encompassed
and mutable, known
and revelatory,
exist nowhere, and endure
as air endures, as salt.

-Marjorie Mir

A KEY FOUND FAR FROM ANY DOOR

A KEY FOUND FAR FROM ANY DOOR

Look here, what I’ve found,
half buried in the sand.
What door is missing it?
What room is waiting?
Let’s choose the house
where it belongs,
find inside our favorite room.

Let’s say it sits close by a rocky ledge
just above this cove.
A room one story up
faces seaward from a window seat,
has good light for reading,
a writing table, books, of course,
bed and dresser, bedside lamp.
Let’s keep the key.
Who knows where it might lead us next?

Marjorie Mir

 

A SUMMER HAT

Woven from wild grasses,
a cluster of wild flowers
tucked in its band,
a single gull feather worn aft:
on a day shifting between
summer’s end and fall’s beginning,
we stand at the dock
waving goodbye to parting friends
when a sudden gust
lifts the hat from your head,
sends it, brim flapping,
winging its way out to sea,
wildness reclaimed,
borrowed, it seems,
for a season.

Marjorie Mir

SUNDAY MORNING, OFF THE COAST OF MAINE – MARILYN RINGER

SUNDAY MORNING, OFF THE COAST OF MAINE

 The basement Laundromat is deserted
I fill both machines, then head upstairs
to the Black Duck for a scone and chai.
I sit at the cribbage table, watch
the day wander in.

 
There is gypsy jazz playing, Django Reinhardt style,
its foot-tapping rhythm contagious. Arline and Mo
sit at the next table. We talk about Barcelona, Gaudi,
his Sagrada Familia, Japanese baseball. The tables
so close, everyone chimes in an opinion.

 
It’s time to move the wash to the dryer.
I pull out things to hang on the line,
make my way back through the small bustle
of dogs and dog toys to the pew by the window
as the church bell rings its call to prayer.

 
Marilyn Ringer
Reprinted from Island Aubade
Finishing Line Press
PO Box 1626, Georgetown KY, 40324

Also available from The Black Duck and Amazon.com

 

Monhegan XVIII (Sunset)

by Kate Cheney Chappell

MONHEGAN VILLANELLE

When day descends the stair of sky
And ribs of clouds exhale the light,
The sea breathes deep as colors die.

West bellows blow the embers high
And dark-winged terns stitch flames in flight.
When day descends the stair of sky,

She walks the stones where wild tongues lie,
and, lambent, searches cloud’s delight.
The sea breathes deep as colors die.

And sieves the gold, the rose, the rye
Like coins through colanders of light.
When day descends the stair of sky,

Bright water cups, then darkly sighs
And laps the petal edge of night.
The sea breathes deep as colors die,

Makes grief in phosphorescence fly,
And spills it on horizon’s height,
When day descends the stair of sky,
The sea breathes deep as colors die.

Kate Cheney Chappell

NACE EL FUEGO

NACE EL FUEGO

~After reading “It Is Born,” by Pablo Neruda

I have consulted his poems about the sea
to dampen the dust of my dry yearning,
but even here a fire is born. I am left
thirsty for blue, for air whetted with salt.

Where is the hidden cove with its
sea glass treasures, the gulls afloat
on evening’s wind? The soul
conspires to meet me there,

but the body, weighted by entropy,
its possessions, the accoutrements
of age, cannot be moved so fettered
by its limitations.

Marilyn Ringer

from, Island Aubade, Finishing Line Press, 2012

P.O. Box 1626

Georgetown, Kentucky 40324

WINTER ON ISLAND – BONNIE ENES

WINTER ON ISLAND

Wicked cold day.
An afternoon walk with the dogs
down to the dock
where buffleheads, like bath toys,
teeter on waves. Distant islands
are in mirage. If only I could
sense summer–
whiff of salt, touch
of hand to warm rock or
to stand in the middle of a cloudless
aquamarine summer day
and chew on buttery steamers
cooked in a black iron pot
over a beach fire.
Some
thing any
thing.
The dogs look up at me,
wide-eyed, plead
walk us back, walk us
back to the house, walk us
back inside where the fire blazes.
They will not leave
until I do. I sigh, move back up the path,
return to leafing through photo albums
filled with aquamarine summer days.

Bonnie Thompson Enes

Mnemonic by Marjorie Mir

photo by Dori Schweier

 

MNEMONIC

“Fall back,” we tell ourselves,
beginning the trek toward early dark,
and we do, still do,
coming from cold streets
into lamplight,
cupping a mug in both hands;
limits, the comfort of habit,
these are not yet taken from us,
nor a darkness whose face is familial,
winter that closes us in.

Marjorie Mir