This is my place, Provincetown’s quiet eastside coast. Let my distant auk relatives claim the boring inlands.
Each dawn I take my perch, lone tall rock on submerged quay. I preen patiently, wait for morning sun.
Dawn blushes, rouges sky, tints and glistens ocean path. My rock is center stage, lone gull in nature’s spotlight.
I dipfish in shallows when schools swim by. Clams succumb to my drop and crack maneuver. I pick and peck lobsters asunder. Swallow as is. Melted butter a human absurdity.
You are not alone, you know, bragging on your mythology. Gull lore says that generations ago, pilgrims landed in Provincetown.
My ancestors met them, an entire colony of gulls. Squawked so loud those humans left, sailed on to Plymouth Rock, obnoxiously omitting us from history.
Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Sarah has provided an interesting prompt entitled Creepies and Crawlies. She introduces us to the idea of writing in the first person, as a spider, a cockroach, a butterfly, a dragonfly, or, I may be taking poetic license here, an animal of our choice. Since we are in Provincetown at the very tip of Cape Cod, I’m writing from the perspective of the gull pictured in the photo I took this morning as I watched a new day dawn in this amazing place. And, it is true. The pilgrims first landed in Provincetown but for some reason, they sailed on to Plymouth and thus the famous Plymouth Rock and the overlooked history of America’s beginning.
To read a short poem about the same photo, from the human perspective, click here.
Briny foam deposits anonymous relics, tumbled sea glass, ceramic shards. Deposits of what once was spurred imagination to pen. Vast expanse edged by the granular, waters creased afar by horizon line. I miss thy rolling waves, my salt-kissed lips, now bare.
Lids closed shut, head bowed. Mortar, brick and cement sight lines erased by self-enforced darkness. Pigeon lined window ledges unseen, gulls imagined delete traffic squeals. Oceanic Muse, realm of Neptune, despondent without thy grace. Oh that I might return to thee.
Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. It’s Tuesday Poetics and today Ingrid asks us to consider the Muse. She tells us that direct invocations of the Muse are rare in modern poetry. She gives us several choices on how to go about writing a poem today that considers the Muse. For me, I’ve always loved the ocean. The photos are from one of five winters we spent in Bermuda where the waters are incredible shades of blue and green. We often hiked along the Old Railway Trail which provided many views of the ocean’s splendor. We continue to spend two weeks every fall in Provincetown, at the very tip of Cape Cod. Our rental unit is right on the ocean’s shore. Today I sit in our Boston high rise condominium, realizing how much the ocean is my Muse.
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.
Originally published a number of years ago. Publishing again today as we return to Boston. Instead of our usual two weeks, with walks into town to meander galleries, shops and eat at restaurants, in this age of Covid, we spent just 8 days in hibernation at our rental by the ocean. But, Provincetown, even without all the hoopla and town attractions, never disappoints.
Sunset photos taken 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.
Lone gull at dawn
sits calmly in repose.
Papaya stained sky,
mirrored hue on ocean tide.
Lone gull at dawn
anticipates promise of new day.
Spreads wings to full span,
ready for flight.
Pauses only moments
in rippled sand by lapping waves.
I breathe in the silence,
a beautiful hushed scene.
Lone gull runs gracefully
barely touching span of sea
then lifts, gloriously,
soars toward the unknown.
Poem written in response to Laura Bloomsbury’s prompt, Flights of Fancy, which appeared on July 28 at dVerse. Posting it today as I host dVerse’s Open Link Night. We are a virtual pub where writers from around the world share their poetry. Come join us!
Photo taken September 2019 at Provincetown, Cape Cod.
stealthy no more, gulls swoop in
iv. garnet red sunset
crimson canopy save gull
streaking across sky
Photos from the past two weeks in Provincetown….all as seen from the deck of our annual rental. No photo-shopping….these are the real colors as we saw them.
Ptown, at the very tip of Cape Cod, has been a muse for many an artist as well as literary giants including Mary Oliver, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Norman Mailer, Eugene O’Neill, and John Dos Passos.
. . . 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
in the nick of time,
news cycle left behind.
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.