Steve Ewing sat in his work truck on the Edgartown harbor, a place where everyone who passes by knows him and stops for a chat. In front of the truck, tied to a small float were work barges and boats he uses to build and repair piers, haul moorings, and all manner of other work on the water.

He was in a bit of a wistful mood as he gazed out at the water.

“You know,” he said, “I look out here at this view right now, and I could have sat here, right where I’m sitting right now, when I was a kid, and it would not look different. It’s all there.”

It was a crisp late fall day, and the truck windows were rolled up, the fall sun heating up the cab. He cracked the windows a bit, then settled back into the truck seat.

“I like the fall,” he mused. “The water is still warm, the crowds are gone. The scallops, the cycles of the fish. When you work outside all the time you appreciate the fall. Nobody’s screaming at you to get stuff done, they’re all gone. You got plenty of work to do, you can go about your business, and just enjoy the Island a little bit before it cranks down cold and hard. The sea ducks, they’re coming in. There’s a kingfisher that comes this time of year. I love the kingfishers. Then the mergansers come a little later.”

Whether he is driving a barge, pounding a pile, swearing about politics, sitting in his favorite writing chair, or simply gazing out at the harbor in the town where he grew up, there is no other way to put it: Steve Ewing lives a poetic life.

So it is fitting that he is the poet laureate of Edgartown. He has held the title unofficially for years, but in 2010, the town selectmen made it official by unanimous vote. He tells the story with a twinkle and a smile.

“I got a call right out of the blue from [town administrator and grade school classmate] Pam Dolby,” he recalled. “Pam said, can you come to a selectmen’s meeting. They want to talk to you about something. I thought, what did I do now?”

At the meeting, selectman Arthur Smadbeck announced it was time to appoint Mr. Ewing as the town’s first poet laureate.

“I said, can I ask a question.” Mr. Ewing said. “They go, no. Then they voted, and then I asked the question. What do I gotta do?”

They informed him his one and only responsibility was to compose a poem and read it at the beginning of each annual town meeting.

“So here I am,” he said.

Mr. Ewing has fulfilled his town duties for seven consecutive years now, and his poems the town meeting always reacts with a sustained round of applause. Next February, he will sit down to write another town meeting poem, and the year after that, another,

“If they keep me,” he said. “They’re not showing any signs of kicking me out.”

Mr. Ewing has collected his town meeting poems, along with several others, in a new book, available at Edgartown Books and from Mr. Ewing directly. Following the poems, he has written a short back story for the works, which are equally as entertaining as the poems.

“It was harder than I thought to write a book,” he said. His poetry too is a struggle at times. “Twenty-five per cent or less of the time, it just comes right out,” he said. “But the 75 per cent or more of the time, it’s a pain in the butt, it really is.” He writes about the past, but often there is a link to the present or the future.

Nowhere was that illustrated more clearly than earlier this year, when he read from his book at the new Edgartown library, built on the site of the old Edgartown School, where he attended kindergarten.

“It was 60 years,” he said, “between when I went to kindergarten, and when I read that book, and I was standing 200 feet away from where my kindergarten classroom was. Here I am in 2017, I’m reading my first book of poetry.”

He said at first he was a little uncomfortable showing the manuscript to others. But it has turned out to be a rewarding experience.

“Now that I’m supposedly a poet, I get invited to go to these poetry readings,” Mr. Ewing said. “I listen to these people, that’s all they do, or a lot of what they do, they just sit down and write poetry day in and day out. They’re good, they have a craft and they hone it. I’ll go there and I’ll read, and these old timers will be there. It reminds them a little bit of growing up here. That really makes me feel good. That’s really cool.”

Like all good writers, Mr. Ewing is a keen observer. He has watched the Island change over the years. He doesn’t like some of the changes, but he is far from sour on Island life. He rattles on expansively about the good things that have happened.

“I don’t think the place has gone to hell in a hand basket, “ he said. “I think the land bank has been one of the main reasons I’m still here. The open space that has been retained here, especially for public access, has really allowed places where guys can go hunting, and fishing, and just walking, and appreciating the space. If all that was houses, it wouldn’t be for us local people. It’s kept the Island livable.” He continued:

“The Martha’s Vineyard Commission [has] protected Cape Pogue, no more subdivision, no more piers in that pond. It’s protected the Great Ponds a bit. Those are things that are positive. It could have gone to crap, the whole place, really bad.”

When asked to expand on some of the things that threaten the way of life here, he is not expansive at all.

“Money. Greed. That’s it,” he said.

He is 65 years old now, and many of his writing assignments are eulogies for friends and mentors who have died. His next book will be a collection of those poems. No matter what subject he writes about, Mr. Ewing’s love for Martha’s Vineyard shines through. No metaphor involved. It is all right out there in front.

“This place was so good to me as a young boy. I really have always loved the Island. I love sharing it, I love recording it. I’ve always been proud of it,” he said.

He is a man of many ideas, and many of them strike a chord with readers. But he has one singular idea that no one is buying.

“I don’t really consider myself a poet,” he said. “But that’s okay, that’s just me. I’m not a poet. I’m just a working guy going out and building piers.”

How poetic.