The Romance Of Steamers


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I wrote this poem about this photo of a clammer’s boat I saw at Maquoit Bay – I wanted to highlight the plight of this bay and of the clam digger as well:

The Romance Of Steamers

Clammers and
square-stern canoes
at odds for tides,
both knowing
fate rests in fog
to fill onion bags
with Maquoit Bay

but these days
quahogs are going deeper
and the brass ring
for measuring
grows dull
by worried fingers

Low tide
lays kelp
and drying
on eelgrass
that crunches
under boots

stench of
saltwater mud
an elixir
on these flats,
yet the holes
of spitters
less and less

We do love
our steamers –

but remember
the muddy
rubber boots
next to
a yellow screen door,
worn by
the weary years
of hope
that man
will not take these flats