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.