There is a waiting . . .

. . . that greets each visitor. A grey clapboard shack-of-a-building at the wharf’s edge. Ferries dock nearby. Disgorge day-trippers to this Cape Cod town. Three rusted, but still operational fishing boats, are moored nearby. A far cry from the fleets tethered to a myriad of docks, back in the fishing and whaling heydays here in Provincetown.

Larger-than-life black and white portraits of Portuguese women are affixed to the shack. They Also Faced the Sea is an art installation, a tribute to the patience and suffering of those who waited. They had no way of knowing when their men would return, until the sailing ships reappeared on the horizon. They waited for their husbands, brothers, and sons. Coastal storms battered their simple homes. Kettles filled with hearty stew simmered as families prayed, then ate at roughhewn tables. One empty chair often haunted their meals. Thunder would roll in and they would silently worry. Was he battling this storm? Would the mast hold . . . or would he be swallowed by a churning sea?

Portraits on a wooden edifice. Reminders of those who still wait . . . still pray.

autumn breeze cools shore
gulls wait, savor shift in wind
as clams, crabs, float in

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It’s Poetics Tuesday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today, Sarah asks us to write about “waiting” — I’ve chosen to do so in a haibun (three succinct paragraphs of prose – cannot be fiction – followed by a traditional haiku).

We are in our last few days of our annual two-week visit to Provincetown. I took this photo on our trip into Provincetown and we’ll see this wonderful art installation again as we leave on the ferry back to Boston on Saturday. This is at MacMillan Pier – photographs by Norma Holt and art installation by Ewa Nogiec. It has watched over the Fisherman’s Wharf portion of the pier for the past 10 years. 

September Memories

It’s been years . . . years engrossed in toddlerhood, PTAs, junior high whims and the highschool weaning – mine, not hers. Knowing she’d leave for college. How’s that possible?

I’m really the single mom now. Dropped her off and just kept driving. Back in time to Provincetown. Famous for literary genius and rollicking good times. My first taste of love had sand above his lip. Took me to places that whipped the breath of my soul. Summer seeds of passion. Literally. Back at University, my belly grew. Summer faded and she became my life.

The beach is different in late September. Standing by the ancient wharf’s remains, deserted by history. All these memories were left here with the trees’ ancient pilings. But I found my true compass in Sandy. No regrets. Someday, I’ll bring her here to see where she began.

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Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today Merril hosts our 4th Prosery session, a new form created by dVerse. It is “flash fiction” (of any genre) that incorporates a line from a poem — and is not more than 144 words long. Merril selected the line “These memories were left here with the trees” by Jo Harjo, the new U.S. Poet Laureate. This is fiction.

Photo taken on our Provincetown walk earlier this week. There are a number of pilings from abandoned wharfs here — in its heyday, Portuguese immigrants settled here and created a vibrant fishing and whaling center.  

Provincetown was a summer home to many of America’s intellectuals, artists and writers  including Eugene O’Neill, Norman Mailer, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, John Dos Passos, and of course the beloved Mary Oliver.

Provincetown is at the extreme tip of Cape Cod. 

Whether to . . .

Layers of putty grey clouds hover on the horizon. Empty masts jut upward from small boats bobbing in waking waves.

Look right: off in the distance, pale blue sky meets roof tops of white clapboard buildings; the town, a twenty-minute walk away. Look left: eyes squint as water glitter-gleams. The sun appears then disappears, valiantly trying to break through slow moving, darkening clouds. A lone gull perched on jetty’s peak, preens itself then sits, nature so statuesque, as waves slap against stone, lap into shore.

Morning pauses, weather waits . . . deciding on its temperament for the day.

early September ~
dalliance between summer
and crisp autumn days

Posted to dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today Frank asks us to write a poem that includes descriptive detail.

My haibun (prose followed by a traditional haiku that includes a seasonal reference) is about what I saw this morning, sitting on the deck of our annual two-week rental in Provincetown. Photos document the view! Provincetown is at the very tip end of Cape Cod. 

Provincetown Serenity

Wooooshhhh . . .
wooooshhhh . . .
waves sweep in,
rhythmic oceanic refrain.
Sun glittered ripple-path
narrow at shore,
widens to horizon by risen sun.
Solitary floating cormorant
stretches sleek neck,
floats . . . then dives under,
resurfaces yards away.
Provincetown serenity
in the nick of time,
news cycle left behind.

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It’s Quadrille Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Prompt word for today is “nick”. It must be used within the body of a poem that is exactly 44 words in length, sans title.

Photo from yesterday morning — sitting on the deck enjoying our beloved Provincetown…at the very tip of Cape Cod – just beginning our two week respite here.

Provincetown Farewell

Day dallies before night,
languorous not angry.
No streaks of orange-red.
No temper tantrum flares.
No sinking glaring half-orb
stamping her rays.

This evening she dabbles,
pastel palette en plein aire.

Blushing, she rouges blue sky.
Sun butter yellows upon her brush,
delicately blend into rosey hues.
Bending closer, stroking more,
soft kisses touch ocean calm
till violet hues meld into scene.

She pauses quietly in her beauty,
then softly fades farewell.

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Sunset photos I took two nights ago in Provincetown, at the very tip of Cape Cod. No photoshopping; no edits. Just pointed my phone and clicked. Breathtaking evening as you can see. Easy to understand why artists and poets (including Mary Oliver) flock to Provincetown. Sadly, our annual two weeks here ends on Saturday as we take the ferry back to Boston. Provincetown, you never disappoint!

Mish hosts OLN at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Open Link Night means anyone can share one poem of their choosing.

Cape Cod Early Morn

There is a softness to this early morn.
Waves slowly, rhythmically, lap the shore.
Tide ever-so-surely recedes,
reveals soft ripple lines on moist sand
sans foot prints of any kind.

Sky awakens rimmed with tufts of dawn,
pastel pinks and barely blues.
In the distance, Provincetown sleeps.
Sail barren masts pierce the clouds,
spinal column of the town.

Serene solitude,
self alone in nature’s calm.
I close my eyes in wakefulness.
I listen. I feel . . .
the softness of this early morn.

Cape Cod – Indeterminate Morn

Darkest grey
to pearlescent cream,
nature’s demarcation divides the sky.

Storm cloud tier looms,
like heavy horizontal quilt
atop matte-dull strip of bright.

Ocean broods below,
accentuates smudged palette
in film noir scene.

Cape Cod indecisive morn.
dares the gazer –
define the coming day.

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Photo taken several days ago from our deck in Provincetown, Cape Cod. This is in color. I did not photo shop to black and white. The day did turn into a blustery one, as if the sun had taken leave. 

The Shadow Knows

There are places and times for pure childlike delight.

We’d been through a stressful year. Death hovered too close to our family. Through the miracles of modern medicine, assisted by angels along the way, we survived. And so we ferried in September to our beloved Provincetown at the very tip of Cape Cod. We walked for miles at water’s edge, marveling at the vast ocean. Our mortal footprints disappeared as the tide returned to shore. We witnessed new dawns. Gazed at a glistening moon path on darkest nights. It was a time of contemplation and somber thankful prayers. 

Until that early morn. Standing in the cool sand, my shadow elongated before me. Cast like a circus lady on stilts. Like mirrors where clowns stretch tall or wide. Magnified to the absurd. And it birthed a smile. And then a chuckle. And then a laugh. Pure childlike delight far beyond my years. And it felt good. 

owls perch and observe
cows chew their cud in solemnity 
spring lambs frolic free


It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, and Toni asks us to write about shadows. Any kind of shadows. A Haibun includes one or two paragraphs of prose and it cannot be fiction. The prose is followed by a haiku (3 lines with syllable counts of approximately 5, 7, 5). Haikus are about nature and include a seasonal word. Photo is my shadow in Provincetown.