Saying round these boat docks, “things end
Much the way they began,” applies to men
And boats, these days, women, too, faith
And matrimony, skipper to boat, plowing
Dark waves of Maine, up before dawn, bed
After dark, relying on punctual sternman,
Diesel starting with black-smoke roar, leaving,
Returning with all lights burning, hauling
Deeper traps, lobsters retreat to ocean depths.
White frost this morning, lobster season
Ending as it began, scraping windshields,
Steaming coffee, another smoke, stomping
Feet to stay warm, boats glistening white in
Predawn light. Why do we take lobster, drop
Traps in cold splashing water? It’s what we
Do, where we go, what we witness every
Morning, sea sunrises, sun creeping over
Spruce-clad islands, dusky evening clouds.
Impressions marrow-deep, life depends on
More lobsters taken, fewer as season ends,
Summer ended quickly as it began, kids
Home-schooled on islands, or taking ferry
To mainland for high school. There’s an
Education on the water, lessons about
Men and women on white-cresting waves,
Seamanship, weather-reading, working
With and alongside others.
Yes, saying is true, lobstering ends much
The way it began, pickup trucks hauling traps
And warps from dockside to garage, covered
With tarps beneath trees out back. Life cycles
Nature understands, clockwork of seasons,
Boats on the ocean. For now it’s coffee and
Muffins at the diner, familiar ring of spoons
in ceramic mugs, planning next lobster season,
Endings and beginnings along coast of Maine.
Inspired by sunlight on hard windshield frost this morning.
Breath steaming, it’s cold everywhere.