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.

Ode to Mary Oliver

I see her walking through peonies
waiting patiently for the strawberry moon.
She, the night traveler in my dreams.
She bids me walk slowly, eyes open in my sleep,
to explore her natural world.
Together we soar on the wings of a hawk
as goldfinches sing and wonder precedes us.
Approaching Provincetown,
we marvel at migrating wild geese
making their cacophonous way
to their winter’s resting place.
As I begin to drift near rising
she leads me past fields of goldenrod
to a small pond bedecked in floating flowers,
lily pads asleep and yet to bloom.
Cool winds ruffle my eyelids
like rustling leaves in a tree.
The lilies break open over the dark water
as my dream retreats into dawning sky.
I awaken to a certain sharpness in the morning air
ready to take up pen, inspired by this woman.
She, the night traveler in my dreams.

Written for NAPOWRIMO, Day 25. Today we’re to write an aisling: to recount a dream or vision featuring a woman who represents the land/country on/in which the poet lives.

Mary Oliver moved to Provincetown in the 1960s and sets most of her poetry in and around this wonderful town. An avid walker, much of her poetry comes from her observances of the natural world. I’ve incorporated 9 titles of her poems in my Ode:
Peonies
Strawberry Moon
The Night Traveler
Hawk
Goldfinches
Wild Geese
Goldenrod
The Lilies Break Open Over the Dark Water
A Certain Sharpness in the Morning Air

We’ve lived in Boston for the past twenty-five years and spend two weeks of every year in Provincetown, at the very tip of Cape Cod. Photos from our visits to P’town.

Provincetown Aubade

I stand at water’s edge
on the precipice of new day
as darkness surrounds me.
Cold damp salted air clings
and coats my upper lip.

Cinnamon colored strips
jut their way through ebony sky.
Monotone scrim begins to fluctuate
as dark clouds differentiate themselves,
shades of grey against paling black.

There, there in front of me
hints of red-orange light.
Shards of yellow tinted crimson
elongate, stretch, and slowly shift
until my chill is forgotten.

Glorious golden orb begins to rise.
Sole cormorant on jetty stone
shadowed now in rising dawn,
my only company as I smile.
Today is indeed, a new day.


Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets and for NAPOWRIMO, Day 8.

Laura is hosting dVerse and shares with us the background and meaning of aubade. It is a serenade to dawn. She asks us to write a melodious poem evoking day break and using either the word “morning” or “aubade” in our title.

Photo is from one of our annual two-week stays in Provincetown, at the very tip of Cape Cod, where dawn never ceases to amaze.

Provincetown Palette

Savor Cape Cod sunsets.
Some seasoned with paprika,
cayenne, tumeric red-oranges.

Others like Monet’s garden scenes
bloom in pale lavender and rose pinks,
scattered through buttercup yellow.

Hot summer days wane at oceans’ edge.
Luminescent full moon slowly rises,
cools down dark ebony sky.

Written for Quadrille Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Lisa asks us to use the word “season” or a form of the word in our poem of exactly 44 words, sans title. Photos taken over the years at our annual two weeks in Provincetown, MA, at the very tip of Cape Cod

Prompt for Sojourn in Provincetown

  1. Brew strong rich dark coffee. Inhale deeply to awaken muse.
  2. Take journal, pen, and mug outside on deck.
  3. Contemplate gulls, shapeshifting clouds, dark wet seaweed blown to shore.
  4. Sip coffee, tasting words that come to mind.
  5. Let ideas ebb and flow like rhythmic tides.
  6. Look to horizon then back to shore, reeling in wayward words.
  7. Let them tumble like sea glass sculpted by waves, smoothing thoughts into poetic lines.
  8. Put pen to journal page. Curved script like ripples etched in sand.
  9. Edit between sips as nouns and verbs wrestle like squawking gulls over luscious scraps of food.
  10. When mug is drained and poem complete, stand by water’s edge and read aloud, your gift to the sea.

Written for NAPOWRIMO Day 4. Our prompt today: “write a poem . . . in the form of a poetry prompt. If that sounds silly, well, maybe it is! But it’s not without precedent. The poet Mathias Svalina has been writing surrealist prompt-poems for quite a while, posting them to Instagram. You can find examples here, and here, and here.

Photo from one of our annual two week sojourns at the Watermark Inn in Provincetown, MA.

Provincetown Pilgrimage

I mellow in my Provincetown days.
I watch and listen to the ocean tides,
their fidelity to lunar rhythms.
My body rests in this place.

Skies often pastel my respite.
Blushing dawns. Tinted sunsets.
Sherbet orange melts into lemon yellow.
Pinks blur into shades of grey and soft orchid.

I’m struck by how colors blend here.
As if the palette is tipped
just ever so slightly
and delineations disappear.

For two weeks every year,
I leave the world behind.
I do not come to recharge;
quite the opposite.
I simply come to be.

Written from Boston, having recently returned from our annual two weeks in Provincetown. Posted for OLN at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe.

Apologies for those who have been reading a lot of my poetry about Provincetown the past two weeks….this is the last one for this year. I promise!

This photo was taken on one of my last mornings there this year. Somehow Provincetown IS an artist’s palette. The challenge is to recreate it in words. No photoshopping here….it really looked like this. Mother Nature a la the impressionist painter? Until next year…..