Town Dock

I am yours

I belong to all of you

Like your parents and

your children

yet to come

I’m your downtown waterfront

you don’t have much

Collins Beach

you bought in 62

Beach Street

Cottage Street

small and narrow

hardly used

Lighthouse beach

good for swimming

long winter walks

Of course the finger piers

the busy loading zone

tightly wedged

between the summer crush

But I am yours

since 1938

you should be proud

You have fished

off my stout deck

Rafted tall schooners

rail to rail

Draggers in their day

fresh from Georges

or stuffed with swordfish

hoisted high

while your children

and the summer folk

stood and gawked

I am your

Town Dock

you should be proud

I am all new now

steel and concrete

replace my old stone bones

My pavilion sits higher still

to see a bit further out

as bright yachts

race by down below

In my day whale ships

wore my fender pilings

Oil soaked my

timber deck

Built your widows walks

your stately homes on

Water Street

Then side-wheel steamers

loaded folks ashore

Long dresses and top hats

full of swells from

down the bulging coast

They all came

and crossed my planks

as they tumbled on up town

Now you fish from me

your children hand line

scup and cunners

eels and sharks

When you were young

you danced all night

in summer to the Bodes

and now the

Dock Dance Band rocks

my rugged frame

You light my July

pitch black sky

with crackling rockets

while your little ferries

slip on by my NE side

back and forth they go

Magic Carpet

that sleek and local yawl

loads up folks

to heel and feel the

clean fresh breeze

that fills her sails with

gusts of Island freedom

Tigress reminds of catboat days

big old gaff catching wind

broad of beam

barn door rudder

against the tide with pride

Conch boats grace my

SW side

loaded down with bulging bags

crunching as they

swing astride

flatbed trucks

potted up by local guys

While from my new

fresh revived

pavilion roof

you gaze on out

Your Great wide Harbor sprawls

while from behind

a stately view reminds you

one and all

of who you are

just why you’re here

And as Aquinnah rises high

out to the west

her multi colored

Gay Head Cliffs

frame proud Moshup

his spirit

his bright light

How Chilmark boasts

Menemsha’s fishing fleet

her roaring harbor tide

her Coast Guard base

West Tisbury’s Grange

her Ag Hall fields

of vintage plows

her furrows

rich and deep

Vineyard Haven’s

your Home Port

her blinking chops

her frothy rips

Owen Park’s

bandstand on the hill

Oak Bluffs’ dizzy ride

spinning horses

gold rings and

jaunty Camp Ground

wooden tents

While way out East

the glacier carved

your dab flat

out wash plain

the ancient drain

formed great ponds

while one became

a harbor deep and swift

and so in Shiretown you claim

seafaring deep within

historic salted veins

And like a big old

Welcome Mat

Memorial marks

your town

As lilacs float from

grade school kids

the harbor light

right by my side

your Town Dock

stands up proud

— Steve Ewing

Town Meeting, April 2022