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For World Oceans Day: She Had God In Her Feet And Angels In Her Summer Hair

I visit wharves and gaze out to sea.

It is a pleasure that took hold some ten years ago. I don’t know why, for I certainly had experience with oceans and coast long before that. For some things it seems its time just comes.

I prefer small working ports, gritty and smelling of fish and lobster and ocean. The scurry and comings and goings (though I also like them in the evening when most work is done). I walk the docking between the boats and peer from the end of the wharf. I ponder distant shores or endless sea and screaming gulls with sometimes seals and whales and archaic Blue Herons.

Last night, when I thought the wharf was my own, a man, woman, toddler and dog arrived. They seemed to do much as I was doing, though they knew the owner of one of the fishing boats. The man was gruffly talkative, the dog was rambunctious, the woman apologized for the toddler’s dirty face and the little girl didn’t quite know what to make of me. Friendly and chatty but she wouldn’t take my hand as I offered to walk her up a gangplank.

I left them on the docking between the moored boats and started to walk on the wharf itself.  The fishing boats and the docking were parallel to the wharf.  I was half way along when I heard a shout. I heard the dog. I looked over and this is where life becomes art becomes life. It was a Kodak moment. It was a Motorola moment. It was a ‘freeze frame/real time/fast forward’ moment. It was a composition/edited moment. It was all these things which came to my visual mind. All this and the knowledge that there was no way I could get there if I was needed.

The little girl was going for the gold. She had God in her feet and Angels in her streaming hair as she raced between the moored boats. Her dirty face was wide with excitement and it is probably the happiest she has been in her life. The man was restraining the dog and the woman was in athletic pursuit. They raced between the boats and the mooring lines and the tools of the fishing trade. The dock swayed in the movement of the waves.  I could not believe the swiftness of the child. The woman finally took what seemed to me a runner’s stance and eventually grabbed the exuberant child. I heard, over the water, admonishments of what could happen if she had “gone under a boat.” All – of course – true.

But the dog understood.

Dead And Drowned And Waiting To Go Home

It was another body,

Washed up,

On the rocks.

There are a number every year,

Coming in on the waves.

A fisherman by his garb.

You can’t tell anything

From his face,

Or extremities.

Food for fishes.

I put up two flags,

For assistance

And for death.

Some incoming boat

Will heave to,

And take the remains

To port.

I used the  peavey, 

To get him out of the water,

And rolled him in a tarpaulin,

And left him in the trench

I’ve dug

For just this reason.

Then I sang

Nearer, My God, to Thee“,

Because,

What else can I do?

I wished Sister Darling

Was here,

To say proper prayers.

I’m The Lighthouse Poet Laureate of Partridge Island /1821 – 2022 / A lot of stuff have I seen / A lot of stuff to report}

DE BA. UEL

Alison Alexandra Takes the Train in the Chunnel Under The English Channel From London To Paris

And then – to add to the volume of the sea – well, what now floats overhead?

 How many fish and how much plankton and seaweed and eels and lobsters and oysters and snails and perhaps even whales swimming and eating and probably eating each other in the liquid beauty which is the water which is the ocean which is the sea that slaps against the cliffs that she watches from her prow-of-a-ship windows when she is on the other side.

And the ocean that slaps the rocks at the base of her cliff is full of fish gurgle and whale song and lobster clatter and crab scuttle and perhaps even the mermaids singing.

 And then there is the screw screw screw of all the propellers of all the ships carrying crew and passengers and cargo of all sorts and conditions, from cases of the champagne she is drinking to the host of automobiles like the Black Ghost that Gabriella drove when she shared some champagne delivered by ship and not aged on the delivery truck two cities over.

And other cargo, floating and steaming over her head, food and drink and oil and bourbon and stiletto-heeled shoes and prayer books and cotton and smart phones and insulin and jet engines and books and railway ties and sheep dip and textiles and spices from the Far east and tongue dispensers and sugar and steel beams for steel bridges and fishhooks and guided missiles and holy missals and buttons and bows and those tiny umbrellas for fruit punch cocktails and things that Alison Alexandra doesn’t even know exists but she has her suspicions.

All over her head and moving the waves and making whales sing their cautionary songs to warn other whales to get the hell out of the way or they will get bumped on their noggin. And they do. Get out of the way.

The Sea Birds Find Safe Haven In The Fog With The Light House Beam

If it was not for the

Sweep Sweep Sweep

Of the Light House light

We would see nothing.

The tired, exhausted sea birds,

Who have seen nothing for hours,

But the fog,

Take what haven they can

And descend around

And upon

The Lighthouse.

Dozens of them,

By what I can count in the

Sweep Sweep Sweep

Of the Light House light.

Paw, my cat/kitten

Himself black as a fog night,

With one white mitten,

Went up to one of the

Near dead birds,

And sniffed him.

Smelled the exhaustion

Beyond even the fear,

And left him alone.

I’ll find some dead tomorrow

And we’ll let the others rest

Until they can

Fly.

I’m The Lighthouse Poet Laureate of Partridge Island /1821 – 2022 / A lot of stuff have I seen / A lot of stuff to report}

DE BA. UEL

Alison Alexandra Likes To See The Sailors At Sea Dance The Jig

In the multi-window turret at the top of the yellow mansion that looks so far out to sea you could see France and even – with the right telescope – some vineyards, Alison Alexandra has a party where the dancers dance and the poor dancers dance beautifully and the singers sing with perfect voices that reach half way to France and the whisky embraces your mouth with hints of smoke.

Ships at sea with their spyglasses trained on the many-windowed turret that has never had a curtain or blind lowered to obscure the view of the ocean can hunt out the smouldering life water that the thirsty dancers hold aloft before they quaff the stinging liquid without one drop –no, not one – escaping to trail down the side of the glass. These shivering seamen in their frigid crow’s nest turn to one another and with words that puff white vapour between them say: “Aye, do you see smoke?” And the vapour reply of the other is “Yes.”

The smoke from the smoky whiskey.

And Alison Alexandra does not know if these sailors are headed to the snap dab middle of France or not. Or even if they have left there days ago and are soon to be in her port and tie up at berths beneath her cliff, either to the left or to the right, but, if they do – if they are smacking their lips at the prospect of the warm, smoky whisky and the hot dancing ladies, Alison Alexandra raises her other hand not holding the smouldering whiskey and beckons to them to come and join her. She likes to talk to sailors. She likes to see them dance the jig.

Sister Darling Saves My Soul In The Snow Storm Blizzard Of The Year (so far)

Like everyone along the coast,
Sister Darling, of the

Rarefied Church of the World (reformed),

Knew that a

“When Hell Freezes Over”

Storm
Was on the way.
She came to my
Lighthouse Island
The day before,

Because the fishing boats
(Her mode of transport).
Would be staying put in port.
She quickly got the soul-saving
Out of the way,
Renewed her friendship with
Paw, my cat/kitten,
Black as tar
With one white mitten
And then, the next day,
Romped with us
In front of the fire,
Happily sharing
Her own warmth.

I’m The Lighthouse Poet Laureate of Partridge Island /1821 – 2022 / A lot of stuff have I seen / A lot of stuff to report}
DE BA. UEL

The Biggest Ship At Sea I Ever Did See

Up in the turret
Of my Lighthouse,
Out to sea,
And through my
Nautical spyglass,
I saw
The largest,
Meanest,
Baddest,
Man-o’-War
I have ever seen.
Not coming into port,
But passing to an
Unknown (to me) destination.
I’m glad I am only
Out to sea
On this harbour
Lighthouse Island,
Because I have just
Seen
The Angel of Death.


(I’m The Lighthouse Poet Laureate of Partridge Island /1821 – 2021 / A lot of stuff have I seen / A lot of stuff to report}

Sea Smoke On The Water And A Cat On The Land

Too much excitement,
And confusion,
For Paw
My cat/kitten,
Black as last night

With one white mitten.

Down by the water.
I had to grab him
By
The scruff of his neck
(Just like a mother cat),
And haul him back
As he batted at,
And reached for,
The fog on the water.
Mind you,

I held him over it,
And let him kick

His darn fool legs
In every direction
At the white mist.
He growled
But they were,
Contented growls.

(I’m The Lighthouse Poet Laureate of Partridge Island /1821 – 2021 / A lot of stuff have I seen / A lot of stuff to report}DE BA. UEL

A Right Howlin’ Nor’easter Aims To Kill On Land And Sea

It’s a right howlin’ Nor’easter
That covers,

And

Engulfs,
The sea and
Partridge Island.


Paw, the cat/kitten

Black as a void
With one white mitten,
Would not even leave
His comfy, blanket-filled
Butter box in front
Of the fire,
To sniff at the door.

I, too, could have refrained
From going out,
For no ship could
Possibly see the Lighthouse
Light

From any distance.
But that’s not why
I take the Monarch’s

Shilling.

Today I looped a rope
To myself
And to the rope
To the Lighthouse.

I trudged,
Bent over
In both directions,
On a walk that took
An extra hour
Each way.

Hand in front of face?
You can’t even see
Moving fingers.

I’m The Lighthouse Poet Laureate of Partridge Island /1821 – 2021 / A lot of stuff have I seen / A lot of stuff to report}

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