Provincetown’s Ebb and Flow

Beloved Provincetown, how shall I pen you?
Sometimes mellow, sweet as honey,
dew dripped fogged another day?

Your fickle Spring brings brisk winds,
lean-into gusts that slow my steps
on low tide walks along the shore.
Horseshoe crabs spawn, two moving as one,
leaving intricate trails on sand,
caring not that I observe their intimacy.

Summer explodes in gulls and fireworks.
Two and four-legged beach walkers
skirt ’round children digging moats.
Engorged tour buses relieve themselves.
Nametagged visitors join throngs in streets
as bicycles weave their way through maze.

Autumn brings sweatered afternoons,
shorter ice cream lines, gardens’ last hurrahs,
and fewer buskers on the streets.
I stand alone in wool cap on deserted shore,
marveling at the glory of an amber moon,
light temptation for tomorrow’s palette of words.

When your Winters flaunt Nor’easters,
remaining locals, few in number, tread quickly
through snow-muffled quietude.
Behind once busy Commercial Street
in this, the most off of off-seasons,
ocean’s rhythmic tides still reign.

The ocean, in fog or sun or snow,
Provincetown’s constant gift,
no matter the time of year.

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today I’m hosting and asking folks to “compound me!”

I’ve provided a list of compound words in the prompt . (A compound word is formed by putting two root words together to form an entirely new word.)

Writers must choose at least one compound word from the list and use it in their poem EXCEPT, they must take apart the word! They can not add any words between the two root words nor can they add any additional letters to the root words. For example: moonlight: writers can put moon at the end of one line and begin the next line with the word light. Or they may, within one line, include the two words moon and light, with no other letters added to the words and no additional words between the two root words. They may however, add a punctuation mark between the two root words.

Confused? Here’s the two lines from my poem above, where I’ve used the words honeydew and moonlight, which are in the list:

Sometimes mellow, sweet as honey,
dew dripped fogged another day?

marveling at the glory of an amber moon,
light temptation for tomorrow’s palette of words.

I do hope you’ll join us! Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time and you’ll find the complete list of compound words there. Choose one or more and compound me! Or just stop by to see what others write. The more the merrier!

Photos from our annual two weeks in Provincetown over these past 22 years. We’re here until Saturday, and as you can tell from this poem and the last few I’ve posted, it is my muse. We are smitten with our beloved Provincetown.

Video was taken yesterday!! Did you know …. May is spawning season for horseshoe crabs. They’re not actually crabs. They’re chelicerates, most closely related to arachnids, such as spiders and scorpions. They’re consiered “living fossils” meaning they’ve existed nearly unchanged for at least 445 million years, well before even the dinosaurs! Amazing to watch their spawning. Our first time in all these years, coming in May….and then we find out it’s horseshoe crab spawning time!

31 thoughts on “Provincetown’s Ebb and Flow

  1. Kenji May 17, 2022 / 12:37 pm

    Apart from the prompt which beautifully explained the four seasons of Provincetown, I am very much thrilled seeing the video. Horseshoe crabs are no more seen in Japan except in very limited local areas and some of them are protected as special natural treasures. Never seen them spawning, either. I could visit Ptown only to observe them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 17, 2022 / 5:22 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it, Kenji – and so fun to see you commenting here. Oh my yes….you would love seeing this spawning season in May in Provincetown. I think it wonderful that horseshoe crabs are considered special natural treasures in Japan.


  2. Grace May 17, 2022 / 3:09 pm

    What a beautiful place you have there Lillian. I am soaking in the brisk wind, low tides, amber moon, ocean tides. Enjoy your stay there,specially watching the crab spawning moments !

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 17, 2022 / 5:23 pm

      Thank you, Grace. It is indeed a very special place to us. We’ve been renting the same small unit, right on the ocean, for the past 22 years.


  3. sanaarizvi May 17, 2022 / 3:10 pm

    Horseshoe crabs! Wow! Thank you so much for sharing the video with us, Lillian 😀 This is such a beautiful, beautiful poem. I felt like I was there with you. Just lovely! 💝💝

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 17, 2022 / 5:24 pm

      Glad to bring you along vicariiously to Provincetown with us. Oh yes….it was amazing to see the horseshoe crabs spawning. This is the first itme in 22 years that we’ve come in May….so we got to witness this unique annual ritual!


  4. Ron. May 17, 2022 / 3:24 pm

    Honeydewed & moonlit. Very cool stuff, Lillian. And THANKS for hosting the cool prompt

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 17, 2022 / 5:25 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the prompt! It’s sure produced a lot of diverse poetic responses, which is only appropo for dVerse! 🙂


  5. sarahsouthwest May 17, 2022 / 3:24 pm

    How lovely! I recognise those seaside town seasons – I love the out of season peacefulness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 17, 2022 / 5:28 pm

      Exactly, Sarah. When we were both employed, we always came for two weeks in July – high season with clogged streets and everything so busy! After we rejuvenated (never say retired), we started coming two weeks in September, which is also off-season but definitely warmer with beautiful flowers in full bloom in gardens (although some have begun to fade by then). This year, we have a family commitment in September so decided to come in May. DEFINITELY off season…beautifully calm and quiet…and as we found out, spawning season for horseshoe crabs!


  6. Mish May 17, 2022 / 3:28 pm

    This piece has its own “ebb and flow” quality…..I could feel the admiration flowing like rhythmic waves as if you could not let go of this wondrous muse…and why should you? How beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 17, 2022 / 5:29 pm

      It is truly a beautiful place. Our 22nd year renting the small unit right on the ocean. First time in May – who knew it was horseshoe crab spawning season???? Usually we come in September which is also off-season, but warmer and the gardens full of blooms.


  7. a.h. starlingsson May 17, 2022 / 4:53 pm

    Beautiful, intricate, lovely wit and a whimsical air at times, but a love not lost and endearing, enduring attachment. Makes me ache for places I know well. Was a wonderful read for me, I think tomorrow will try reading it aloud and recording. Feels like the kind of verse that would be wonderful to perform.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Truedessa May 17, 2022 / 8:05 pm

    You have captured the beauty of each season. I haven’t seen a horseshoe crab in some time. They really are amazing. Thanks for sharing the video. I smiled at the ice cream lines. They are
    always longer in the summer. Thanks for taking me there with your wonderful images.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 18, 2022 / 9:40 am

      Always happy to bring folks with me to Provincetown via my words and images…none of which truly do it justice. So glad you see you here today!


  9. rothpoetry May 17, 2022 / 9:58 pm

    Very well done, Lillian. Tempted by moonlight is a great use of the prompt. This was an interesting prompt to make work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 18, 2022 / 9:39 am

      Ha! I wrote the prompt, thinking I was being so clever and coming up with something unique. THEN I had to try and write a poem for the prompt! It was indeed tricky….but glad to see so many people gave it a whirl. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. paeansunplugged May 17, 2022 / 11:15 pm

    Beautiful verse….capturing your favourite P’town and its various moods, lovely pics and what you shared about horseshoe crabs is amazing!


    • lillian May 18, 2022 / 9:38 am

      So glad you enjoyed! 🙂 Yes —- we had no idea that coming for the first time in early May, after 22 years of staying here in the same small unit, that we’d see horsehoe crabs spawning!


  11. Rob Kistner May 18, 2022 / 2:39 pm

    What a completely wonderful post Lil! Your writing, your pictures, your share about Provincetown — and the little video of the “alien” you found crawling in the sand. All wonderful! Thank you for letting me visit… 🙂 I might notify SETI about that creature though. 😉


    • lillian May 20, 2022 / 9:09 am

      So glad you enjoyed, Rob. And most importantly, glad you are on the mend!


  12. Gillena Cox May 18, 2022 / 3:59 pm

    You certainly luv Provincetown and the photos are awesome


    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 20, 2022 / 9:09 am

      I do indeed. it’s a very special place!


  13. lynn__ May 18, 2022 / 4:56 pm

    Horseshoe crabs look like living fossils! Thanks for sharing your lovely words and photos, Lillian.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 20, 2022 / 9:10 am

      They do indeed look like living fossils. Actually, they’ve been in existence since before the age of dinosaurs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • lynn__ May 20, 2022 / 9:55 am

        Interesting that they haven’t really evolved over all that time!


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