dog
Dog at the Funeral

Dog at the Funeral

For Dave Willey (1947-2008)

I didn’t see him when two planes did a fly-by,

one on the right peeling off in missing-man formation.

Not until I saw his picture with Dave and Dave’s family —

a big lug of a dog, a Great Dane, but smaller, a Doberman,

but ears cupped, long tail, bright eyes, and an open mouth.

He walked through the door as we sat, looking around

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In Their Own Words: Ben Williams

Welcome. We’re here today to get approval to leave this place. To be told that we’re done, al fin, la fine. But if we were to place this summer, right here, on a timeline of the things that our class will create, the ideas that our class will manifest, the places that our class will go, you would find that we, the class of 2008, are not done.

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Jeremias

I Remember Jerry best at work

Two drawknives

A peavey

And an ax

A tractor trailer load

Of spiles

Oak trees

From up north

We’d bark

Me a teenage

Local kid

Him a father

Fresh from San Miguel

He came with Bernadette

And the girls

Work for Manuel Santos

In the cemetery

Yardwork

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Leaving

Leaving

How can I bear to leave this place,

take the next boat out into the harbor,

pass the buoy, toss

a penny into the water for a return?

How can I bear leaving after 39 years —

built my own house, planted my garden,

tall-trees design, skylight to watch the evening sky,

see the night flight plane lights

blinking their way across the sea.

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To a Shucker

To a Shucker

Green side up

Knife goes in

Cut it clean

Top shell off

Thumb on guts

One smooth swipe

Next the meat

Sweet delight

Eye in air

Mystic tale

Scallop king

Holy grail

Bloaters swell

Beans all night

Shuckers wage

The endless fight

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lighthouse
Down by the Lighthouse

In June my sister, Carole Cowan Dunscombe, died at the age of 51. My parents survived her as no parent should have to do. The timeliness of the Children’s Memorial at Edgartown Light couldn’t have been any better and my parents were able to have a stone placed there in her memory. Carole couldn’t get down to the lighthouse due to her wheelchair, however she spent many days looking out on the light from Memorial Wharf.

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For Nancy Fischer: 1949-1973
Nancy died in seventy-three
She was only twenty-three
She was a gamer
She was a good one
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Thanks Taken

What if you wrote you are God’s elect, self-chosen

to bring order into a “new world,”

settled by natives seen as stray commas,

or apostrophes, in illiterate forests, a wilderness

hostile to your godly virtues of order and control,

a wilderness whose trees you fell to make

your home?

What if the few who traveled on the “sweet ship”

Mayflower,

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Ben the Heath Hen
The Ballad Of Boomin’ Ben

Note: The  Heath Hen, once a plentiful bird throughout New England, was last seen by James Green in West Tisbury on March 11, 1932.

The Ballad Of Boomin’ Ben

(The Tragic Tale of the Last Heath Hen)

I looked for my lady,

hoped she was near

playing “hard-to-get” games

in the Spring of that year.

I searched and I searched 

under brush, by the sea;

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Day’s End on Eel Pond

Day’s End on Eel Pond

Sunlight falls through holes in the clouds

spotlighting the marsh grass here and not there,

whitening a sail out on the water, leaving

others in shadow, shining the transom

of the moored cat boat, its bow disappearing.

The bobwhite calls its name without knowing it.

Sparrows and swallows, fussing and twittering.

line up like deacons on the deck railing,

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