Did mothers know
about the schemes of children
about the secret places,
about smoking cigarettes,
about climbing slippery high rocks
on a foggy day,
about cooking periwinkles in rusty cans,
prying them out with rusty nails,
and savoring them with our unborn palates?

Did mothers know
about stories shared,
about tears shed over going home?
Did they know we were
blood sisters and brothers?

Did mothers know
of our parallel lives,
one where we sat at the table,
eating fried hot dogs and chips,
the other, running with friends
along winding paths
into familiar places,
like Fairyland,
the deep crevice at schoolhouse,
the special stoop at Lobster Cove,
the kissing place facing Manana?

Did they know of our world?
The world of reality,
of facing fears
like heights, snakes and walks home
without moonlight, where the wind
made the shadows dance.

Did mothers know
how brilliant our lives were,
with selling seashells,
making things out of nothing,
making each other faint,
turning kelp to dresses,
and starfish into hats,
and seaweed into hair,
and life into magic?

Daphne Stern


  1. Don’t know what generation ( lol ) you are but you seem to remember lots and ‘say’ it so well. I lived to be on the island once a year and was there pretty much 22/23 years in a row …. and miss it so much now. I hear it has changed a lot….. a bit sad…… I remember it with no electricity and lines waiting to use the phone at Monhegan House when June Day and Henley were there. Drop me a note if you want to. Joanie 🙂

    1. Those were the days I remember…a huge gang of us, there all summer and beyond. I have discovered that we remember more when we were more invested in our time as youngsters. The island was there, the people were there. The rest was up to us. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to forget summers of our own design. I hardly ever go out there these days…it has changed. I look at it from the mainland and will always love it. But everything evolves. And what hasn’t changed is the exquisite beauty of Monhegan and how it impacts everyone who lives there, or visits.

  2. Judy ….. I believe it was your wonderful house on the hill toward Barbara’s that we stayed perhaps two times …. I did a picture from the downstairs window, looking up toward the top … I worked with Clay K that year and became dear friends with Marie with whom I still correspond to this day. It was a wonderful house… wonderful times… I miss it very much but I don’t get around like I used to and that was before I was divorced, which changed everything ….. that dear Island holds so many memories. Can’t imagine it without Peter and Ricki either ….. Talk about ‘evocative lingerings’ … boy

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