The following poem was delivered on Sept. 23 at the Harbor View Hotel as part of the Ceremony of Remembrance held each year to honor children who have died.

Harbor Light

In my first boat
a small and tender
Swampscott dory
at flood tide
I have sailed by and touched
your base
Before this sand spit
curled out
towards town
Before your stones
bore my brothers’ names
Scott and Douglas
chiseled in tough granite
They stare up at me
softened by other stones
staring up at you
Bearing other brothers
Sons and
staring too
Snatched in youth
cemented into place
they share the base
that holds this
guiding light
and steers us to this point

My brothers sailed off
years ago
but still
I see them
in my mind
I see their faces
etched into these
small stones
and they feel safe
in other stones’ embrace
As young boys we swam here
crawling through warm sand
down the drop
the harbor current carves
Puffer fish
Sea robins
eels and crabs
would scoot away
or linger as we stared
The lightness of our youth
warmed those days
and warms these stones
that form this base
our children share
And as we share
our collective grief is washed
by the soft lapping of the waves
or the crash of storms
Our children hear these sounds
through us
And with the hope they left behind
we carry on in the lightness
of their love