As we build

And repair the harbor

I see your hand

It comes up

Dripping

From deep within

The sandy bottom

Axe mark

On wood piling

Pointed for

Penetration

Holding piers for years

We pull you free

From salty water

Into the open air

I see the holes

You drilled

By hand

Sharp auger turning

With your will

Boring out the oak

For bolts

Now rusted

But still strong

I see your bit

Hand forged

And shaped to cut

By men

With names like

Norton and

Jeffers

How their skill helped

Your work

As these and other men

And women

Help us

Do ours

I see your mark

In stacked boulders

Leading

To the light

At the entrance

To this harbor

And in the few

Remaining hand hewn posts

Hinting at

The long gone

Bridge of Sighs

Where summer lovers

Kissed goodbye

I’ve seen your mark

Shoot up from

Harbor sand

Buried bottles from a shore

That bore the names

Like Jackson, Eldridge

Osborn, Fisher

Candlemakers

Fishermen

Scallop shuckers

Tubtrawl baiters

Whalers

Long ago

 

I see your marks

In secret spots

Hidden

Overlooked

Sweet suggestions

Rough lives

Of strength and toil

Found in names like Pease and Schwartz, Colter, Goulart, Maury, Dietz

So many, many more

I see you in the points

Of spears

My men find

Along these spring fed

Laden shores

And here and there

The grasses and the land

Remain the same

As when you hunted

Fished and fed

For many years

Before we came

You let us share

The riches

Of this place

With you

Now tonight

In this old church

As I stand here

In front of you

I look out and see

The marks of men

And women

Long gone by

I see them in

Your names

I see them in your faces

I feel them beating

In your hearts

As we make our marks

With names like Hargy

Smith or Morgan

Case, Belisle, Datz

I see their life in

All of us

I see those signs of you

 

Steve Ewing, Edgartown Poet Laureate