The Quahaug Seeker By Adam Moore
Sengekontacket rippling gray
Waters had beckoned me to lay
My rusty basket rake upon
The sandy bottom of the pond.
I grasped, as did I deeper wade,
A rope with braided fibers frayed,
And with it tethered bushel wire,
Afloat in rubber tube from tire.
To quahaugs rake, to harvest reap,
I left the shore to waters deep,
Behind me wire bushel floating,
Was empty now, awaiting loading.
Seemed far enough, and so I halted.
With ebbing tide the water salted
Swirled about, in circles eddied,
Wooden handled rake I readied.
Through sand and mud I dragged its tines;
While clouds of black obscured the lines
It scraped below and hid from view
What buried yield that might accrue.
A scrape! Felt I, and hoisted high
The basket rake toward the sky.
Though seaweed tangled dripped like rain,
No quahaugs did the rake contain.
I scraped again and so expected,
With hard-shelled clam to have connected,
But lifted rake revealed my grab
Of empty shells and clawing crab.
Whence the clams? I cast my gaze
On old men clamming off a ways,
Who, silhouetted by the sun,
Might tell me how the clamming’s done.
They dragged a slow and searching stroke,
Then quick short tugs! - Then surface broke,
With baskets raised, and in they’d look,
And from the rakes the clams they took.
Once more tried I for quahaug stuck
Beneath me buried in the muck
The lowered rake, I firmly dragged,
Till something hard its teeth had snagged.
A clam, perhaps? I dug from under
It to cleave from sand asunder.
Another tug and mud let go.
Just what it was I did not know.
Then from the pond the rake I raised
And in its rusty hold I gazed-
And quahaugs found! Their heavy shells
Were rinsing clean with Senge’s swells.
With ring I gauged my quahaugs three,
Tossed one too small back out to sea,
Then gathered more with eager rake,
For of them soon I would partake.
To pluck the quahaug from the muck,
Takes bushel, rake – but little luck.
To find this bivalve simply ponder
Elders clamming over yonder.