Nancy: The mysteries of the fog, the castles in the air, fantasies of looming – more often than not what you see is what might be – or, might not.
Herring Cove, Half-past High Tide, Sunday
Dark, erect, three cormorants,
from a distance their ledge could be
a dory, a punt, a tender, a dinghy,
from a distance with the fog behind them,
with the fog slipping over the surface
of the water, they could be three friends
out for a Sunday afternoon of fishing, they have
the still patience of handliners, the men
who, after a week on the water,
are drawn in friendship back to the small
boats, the deep invisible fish.
Even after the men come down from Sunday
dinners and loose their boats from the
moorings and stir the air with the clapper
of oars and engines, even after they turn
out to pass the weir, headed toward the
light drift of fog, the cormorants sit their
ledge just as they were, three fishermen,
three among many, on a falling tide.
Alan: Returning to a favorite place to discover it transformed by a “training exercise.” Some things can only be explained by sheer stupidity.
At Herring Cove, Following Work by the National Guard
The storm-cut bank is gone,
and in its place a broad ramp of packed stone,
as if we are to drive forward into the water –
and the huge scoop of a sandpit,
licked smooth by heavy machinery
has been graded and seeded to a fare-thee-well.
The old patched dory’s vanished,
weir poles and brush removed;
the eye, deprived of sweat and history,
runs foolishly toward the horizon and founders.
And the swallows have fled,
their city bulldozed,
the air scraped clean of that astonishing chatter and swirl,
leaving a broken shell of ground
deceptively perfect, aimlessly
tilting toward the waves,
and a pained emptiness where purple grass once grew
wiry and waving above the sea.
“Herring Cove, Half-past High Tide, Sunday” first appeared in the Friends of Acadia Journal.