Alley’s General Store


In times of yore, one humble store

Sustained our tiny town.

‘Twas not the kind where one might find

A fancy evening gown.

Instead, our needs — from nails to seeds —

Were modest as the dickens,

And Nancy Luce had little use

For lipstick on her chickens.


These wooden walls held overalls

To fit most any size;

A length of rope, a pound of soap,

A swatter for the flies.

We stocked these shelves to suit ourselves,

From cloth to cans of soup;

And if you’d heard the latest word,

You heard it on this stoop.


This heavy door, this creaky floor,

Have long gone unadorned,

And those who seek a chic boutique

Are urgently forewarned:

The goods inside are cut-and-dried,

No frills, no doubt about it.

“If it ain’t here,” they say with cheer,

“You’re better off without it.”


The months and years have churned like gears

Within our church-clock steeple,

But time and taste have not erased

This thread that binds our people;

For you can ride both far and wide

Throughout these hills and valleys

And find no store a town loves more

Than our own faithful Alley’s!


— Daniel Waters

West Tisbury poet laureate