Edgartown

Edgartown

Like each sea captain’s home must be surrounded

by the white picket fence of a whale’s jaw full of teeth

over which morning glory vines grow like scrimshaw.

Like the White Cliffs of Dover must be rebuilt to welcome ships,

where houses stand like blocks of marble on Main Street,

and the glass fan window is a pale British Sunrise of sorts.

In Memory of Julia

In Memory of Julia

Like leaves of fall, shells change in shape,

managing their change of fate.

Parts and pieces, seaweed strewn,

parade of beauty, stop to swoon.

Reeds of grass, like tufts of hair,

climbing toward the well-worn stair.

Tidal swim, when moon is full,

arms outstretched to catch the pull.

From piers we leap into the chop,

and beg this summer not stop.

And the Ocean, Always the Ocean

Stand here and there, old Vineyard homes,

All wrapped in deep content.

— Emma Mayhew Whiting

They’re painting all the houses white in Edgartown,

capping flat pickets to fences around resplendent lawns,

cut on a diagonal. The parade is just around the corner.

Sit at the spinning wheel in the keeping room, scrimshaw

on the mantel. The crane swings in the high fireplace

and the streets are filled with shouts for

Joe Cressy

Joe Cressy

Salty and scholarly

Haltingly clear

What Joe Cressy spoke

You wanted to hear

Scottish and kilted

Malt in his hand

Reciting keenly

So Scots understand

Heeling on Halcyon

Bound for the sky

Cresting and leaning

A tear in his eye

Mary and daughters

Jane’s Beautiful Soul

Jane’s Beautiful Soul

to experience the Vineyard’s magical majesty

to see the idiosyncracies of each backyard tree

to look at our Island’s night sky as always new

to talk to her dog, Mac, as though to me and you

in one of Jane’s poems entitled My Trees

she hears “screeching sound of saws on trees”

so roads can be made and houses built

in forest where she and a boy once walked

Artemis’s Caution

Artemis’s Caution

When you look at a deer

what do you see?

Carrier of ticks? Raider of you garden? Meat for your freezer?

Pest, scourge, rodent with antlers?

When you contemplate a deer,

the only large animal left to roam wild

in our woods, a brilliantly fired creature who bolts off

with lifted white tail, speed like a gazelle, consider

Dandelion Gone to Seed

Dandelion Gone to Seed

A sphere of silvery transparency,

at the top of a silvery stem.

Perfect in its static death.

But the next wind will blow it into seedlings,

will sing every tiny seed of it into a cloud

that drifts to earth,

to make another flower,

in another spring.

— Margaret Freydberg

Poem (Song): Summer

(song lyrics)

Every year has only one July.

Careful! It may find a way to pass you by.

Flies come through the door;

Come November, watch it pour.

Summer, don’t you love me any more?

Looking for a wishbone on your plate,

Hoping for the kind of fish that likes your bait;

Working till you’re sore,

Scared of spending winter poor.

Summer, don’t you love me any more?

(Refrain:)

Poem: Ferry to Chappaquiddick

Three cars, three minutes

each time, on time, just

in time, to midnight — metronome

for the separate island

releasing triptych cars which drive

twenty-five on one paved road

and less on dirt washboards

where rhythmed bumps punctuate

as fishermen, construction crews

returning shoppers buck and heave

on sand bunched like bedclothes

on a humid night when unquiet

Poem: Roots Of Old Trees

I found the tendrils of your fingers

wound around mine like prayers

woven into the clothing of prayer.

and fled with you in my arms

along the highway of snakes,

concealing you from streetlights

and stars, from dogs barking in alleys.

Because nothing should speak of this

because no one would believe me—

they’d shut me away

in a room without views—

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