Laureate Poems for Plymouth’s New Year, 2022

3 NEW YEAR’S CHARMS ON A BRACELET
FROM PLYMOUTH’S POET LAUREATE

—1—
If you walk through Burial Hill
& see someone whose glares could kill
With Pilot pen & Moleskine page
Decked out like writing’s all the rage,
Who stops to copy words & fill
Their notebook with another age
Idyllic if quite gory, it
Is them: the Poet Laureate!

—2—
From White Cliffs to the Town Hall green,
From Russell Street to Suosso Lane,
From Herring Pond to Morton Park,
& High Cliff Landing after dark,
East Bay for lunch, Dunkie’s at dawn,
From Bramhall’s to the Mayflower’s ark,
In West Plymouth & Manomet
They’re home: The Poet Laureate.

—3—
To track our times with language wrought
From all the best of truths we’re taught;
To give us words we yearn to say
At weddings & our dying day;
For strength to cope with what fate’s brought
& when we find we’ve lost our way
& there’s no telling where we’ll get:
We need a Poet Laureate.

 

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VOICES / SEASONS / WATERS / LIGHTS: FOR PLYMOUTH, 2022

Winter

Long-light January;
air’s archive wide open:
see from here to Holmes Field,
see Gurnet gleaming
white thumbtack—
unwashed-denim-blue water,
seams of waves out past the Point
where we walked this morning
and now watch from a porch across harbor.
That way, West
to California, this way, East, the bay,
Provincetown monument, a gas tank
two horizon rifts, then water
for a while, Europe—
but in here jetty
and beach, low-tide sandbar afternoon.

A fishing boat needles past moorings,
another coming back in the channel;
cold air warm light,
we can see further:
objects way out there feel closer—
relativity of scale and distance. Memory.

Red and black tanker peeks out behind Gurnet. Little oblong bead
on abacus horizon.
~

Spring

At the herring run
in plague time I wanted to
escape my body

swim through that water
as a reliable fish
alive with purpose

but our bodies will
not unhook our souls without
violence, so doubt

drowned enlightenment
though I said thanks aloud for
the herrings’ return.
~

Summer

Bluegreen water in Plymouth Bay
bluegreen negotiations w/ time
prescient present and eternity
bluegreen waves perpetually
ask how can you hold fast the past?

Bluegreen intermingled patches a gradient
bluegreen primeval fog boiling above
bluegreen always the same changing
bluegreen viscosity of dream
bluegreen below a rotund monthly moon
bluegreen blinking fireplug at channel’s turn
bluegreen lightning bugs on my notebook
bluegreen the open-page ocean.

When wind fills sails whips flags taps chimes talks to fishermen, beachcombers, poets,
marvelous
bluegreen seam of pure ol’ sooth me oh leviathan.
~

Autumn

Wet salvation?
Mystique of purity,
adventure.

Vessel notebook.
Small craft
advisory today.

And then went down to the ship…

Poetry sand blows over dunes.
We keep returning to water.
We keep going back to shore.

Replenishing waves.
Faces toward eternity.

While our blind sea
touches everything
all finger-tongues.

All roiling mirror?

Waves of paper curling white.

Longing, water and local light.
~

Envoi

the locked red lighthouse shines regardless

let me
give you

this saltgrass necklace

before
wind
wins
otherwise