Overheard on the Corner in Ptown

Walking down Provincetown’s main street,
I passed two men sitting on a bench
chatting in front of the courthouse.
It’s a popular place to people watch.

I heard one man say to the other
“I have a list of things I’m not allowed to buy.”
I started wondering,
what might that list include?

Possibly . . . M&Ms with peanuts,
wine spritzers and flavored beer.
Tie-dyed tee shirts, bumper stickers,
and coffee mugs for mom, dad,
grandpa, grandma, best brother
or best sister.
Cape Cod engraved silver spoons.
Salt and pepper shakers
in the shape of whales.
And possibly starfish from the shell shop?
Because he already has too many.

“So what would I buy if I had that list,”
I asked my spouse after writing this poem.
In his inimitable way, he simply said,
“Use your imagination.”

Image: photo of sign taken on our walk yesterday to the far East side of town, where automobiles first enter Provincetown.

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?

and
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!

Hushhhhh . . .

. . . shadow me to sleep.
Hush headlines, past regrets,
and lists of tasks undone.
Toss full moon behind gathering clouds.
Snuff stars until dust drips silently
crusting my eyes.
Sink me into primordial seas,
ombréd in shades of grey
that I might rest in peace.

Written for Quadrille Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Sarah asks us to include the word “sleep” in our poem of exactly 44 words, sans title.

Photos taken last night from our deck here in Provincetown, as the moon was rising. That’s my husband’s hand. Unfortunately, it did indeed totally cloud over and we never saw the eclipse or infamous blood moon….but this was an amazing sight as well.

Provincetown Off-Season

There’s a quiet to this place
in that transition between winter
and when-will-it-get-here spring.

Ocean ombrés from greys to taupes
bereft of sails and buoys,
lonely tides missing congregant gulls.

Lulling seeping fog muffles sound.
Low-lying dulled clouds meld into one sky
misting all that lies beneath.

And if perchance the sun should shine
clearing skies to blue,
cold damp air chills the bones still.

Lean-into gusts of wind
accompany the lone walker,
a speck of time on these vast sands
in the quiet of this place.


Written for Open Link Night at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets.

Today Sanaa is hosting and from 3 to 4 PM, Boston time, we will be LIVE. Poets from around the globe will meet via Google Meet and read aloud one poem of their choosing. It’s amazing to see the faces of folks and hear their voices….come join us either to read a poem of your choosing, or just to sit in and listen. HOW TO JOIN US?

Go to https://dversepoets.com at 3 PM or just a few minutes after, and the links to join us will be there…just click and come!

Photo taken this morning from our deck in Provincetown.

We’ve spent two weeks in Provincetown, at the Watermark Inn for the past twenty-two years. We’ve been here in January, July, May, and September. For some beautiful photos over the years, click here!

Dune Shack

He courted me online. Sent me airfare from Paris to Boston. Met me with flowers and a grin. We sped out of the city, not slowing down until we crossed the Bourne Bridge onto Cape Cod. Small towns appeared and disappeared until we reached Provincetown. Shifting into four-wheel drive, he maneuvered through a maze of sand dunes, finally reaching his secluded shack. The one he’d so romantically described. For three glorious weeks we made love under down comforters and hiked the deserted beach. Off season was best, he said.

On April thirtieth, he muttered “you’re not enough.” He walked out and left me stranded, scared to death. For how can I be sure I shall see again the world? On the first day of May, I got the nerve to climb up the nearest dune. I hoped the world was on the other side.


Written for Prosery Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets across the globe. Today Merril asks us to use a line from Sara Teasdale in our prose: “For how can I be sure I shall see again the world on the first day of May.” We can not change the words – must use them exactly as written. However, we may change the punctuation.

The Bourne Bridge does indeed separate Cape Cod from the mainland of Massachusetts. Since 1998, we’ve spent two weeks every year at Provincetown, at the very end (tip) of Cape Cod. We usually take the fast ferry direct from Boston – it only takes 90 minutes – and we usually come in September. However, because of another commitment, we arrived in Ptown on Saturday and will be here until May 21st. Definitely off-season. The ferry isn’t running yet so we took a bus. After the bus crossed the Bourne Bridge, we did indeed ride through many small New England towns before we spied the National Seashore coming in to Ptown. done A number of years ago we did Art’s Dune Tour in his 4-wheel drive. He takes you way out and up and down all the dunes. To this day, there are still some very secluded artist’s shacks in the dunes.

Above image by Jan Aldrich has been cropped showing a sand dune and part of an artist’s shack on the National Seashore.

Photo below is of me today on our morning walk at low tide. Chilly but still beautiful.

Character Sketch

She enjoyed a staccato existence,
never a sustained note
ecstatically percussive.
High on life,
she jived from one gig to another
town after town,
no stage too small.
Showmanship and flair,
nothing static in her repertoire.
Gender be damned,
she was a one-man band.

Quadrille (poem of exactly 44 words, sans title) written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Mish is hosting and asks us to include the word “static” within our poem.
Note: I ecSTATICally included static twice!

Photo by Erriko Boccia on Unsplash

Brooding (from the lines of Maya Angelou)

When I think about myself
there is a deep brooding.
The day hangs heavy
no sound falls.
I see you,
shadows on the wall
just beyond my reaching.

Lying, thinking
I almost remember
when you came to me, unbidden.
Your smile, delicate
a young body, light,
your skin like dawn.
We saw beyond our seeming.

One innocent spring
it occurs to me now,
the dust of ancient pages.

A cento (poem made up of lines taken from other poems) written for NAPOWRIMO, the final day.

Every line in this poem, is the first line in one of Maya Angelou’s poems. The poems are listed below, in the order of their appearance:

When I Think About Myself
My Arkansas
Greyday
After
Thank You, Lord
Life Doesn’t Frighten Me
Slave Coffle
Alone
I Almost Remember
When You Come to Me
Woman Me
To Beat the Child Was Bad Enough
Passing Time
We Saw Beyond Our Seeming
Now Long Ago
Changing
Communication II: The Student

In Sober Response to a Prompt

Blessings at birth
two parents, one brother
warm home, and sustenance.
Curses at birth?
I can think of none
for me.

I shuddered last week as I read
of a child born underground
as missiles struck
and millions fled
and “never again”
kept coming again.

Written for NAPOWRIMO, Day 29.

Today’s prompt: Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem in which you muse on the gifts you received at birth — whether they are actual presents, like a teddy bear, or talents – like a good singing voice – or circumstances – like a kind older brother, as well as a “curse” you’ve lived with (your grandmother’s insistence on giving you a new and completely creepy porcelain doll for every birthday, a bad singing voice, etc.). I hope you find this to be an inspiring avenue for poetic and self-exploration.

Life as an Hourglass

My life is like a fragile hourglass
sand grains drop through.
Some moments I savor
slip past me before
I can taste them.
Other times
lag behind
move so
slowly
I can
not
stand
it and so
I open my
mouth and
scream aloud.
I want to control
each and every grain
of my life, especially now
in our winter season when the
path ahead is far shorter than the
glorious one we’ve been blessed to share.

Written for NAPOWRIMO, DAY 28. Today the prompt is to  write a concrete poem, in which the lines are shaped in a way that mimics the topic of the poem. Also shared with dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today it’s OLN: Open LInk Night where we can share any one poem of our choosing.

Glendalough

Walk with me in the fields of Glendalough,
walk quietly amongst its tipping stones.

Ancient headstones stand quietly askew,
testament to centuries of monastic life.

Sixth-century monks lived secluded here
prayed within primitive stone structures.

Evidence of their medieval dwellings
still lies scattered in verdant landscape.

Lush hills gently swell, envelop sacred history.
Hushed visitors walk through hallowed grounds.

St. Kevin of Glendalough first blessed this land,
centuries later, still a place of pilgrimage.

Many come to pray, to see, to touch this land,
seeking calm, finding a place of primal peace.

Written for NAPOWRIMO, Day 27.

Today, we have a tough prompt; what I call a sudoku prompt !  

We are to write a duplex. Like a typical sonnet, a duplex has fourteen lines. It’s organized into seven, two-line stanzas. The second line of the first stanza is echoed by (but not identical to) the first line of the second stanza, the second line of the second stanza is echoed by (but not identical to) the first line of the third stanza, and so on. The last line of the poem is the same as the first. The only part of the requirements I did not follow was the bit about the last line. I like the way mine ended as is.

Photos taken some years ago when we visited Glendalough in Ireland. An absolutely beautiful and serene place. Saint Kevin is an Irish saint, known as the founder and first abbot of Glendalough in County Wicklow, Ireland. His feast day is June 3rd. He was born in 498 AD. After his ordination, he moved to Glendalough to live as a hermit in a partially man-made cave. His companions were the animals and birds around him. He lived as a hermit for seven years, wearing only animal skins, sleeping on stones and eating very sparingly. Soon others sought him out as a teacher and holy man. Glendalough grew into a renowned seminary of saints and scholars. Until his death around 618, Kevin presided over his monastary in Glendalough.