By mid-June, Maine ice is memory more
Than hindrance, familiar am I to myriad
Forms, fresh and seawater, returning in
November, clear skim ice forming over-
Night, rising and fracturing, brittle glass
On wake-waves of passing lobster boats,
Ice encroaching on island passageways.
How does this happen? Warming strength
Of sun retreats on southern horizon, fond
Recollections as breath steams, freezing
Rains move across spruce-clad shores,
Cold-congealing roofline drops, advent of
Maine winters, foggy oceans keep islands
Warmer until snow-swept cold sets in.
Yet at picnic tables outside our local store,
I straw-swirl ice in my drink, summer sun
Beating down. Flip-flops, halter top, baseball
Cap, I swat biting blackflies imparting scarring
Whelps on suntanned shoulders, joys waiting
For ferry-arriving mail, ice-packed fish, and
Tourists, bikes and backpacks, yearning for
Cold drinks before trekking into Acadia.
Maine islanders wage personal battles with
Freezing water, iced-up fuel filters, dead
Batteries, transforming sun-warmed porches
To bone-breaking glaze, invading decks on
Lobster boats. Absence of warmth brings
Constant struggles, keeping water pipes
Dripping, numb-frozen fingers and toes,
Ice-choked island thoroughfares.
For short summer months, all these frigid
Thoughts have evaporated in mid-summer
Sun. Diesels engines revving, lobster boats
Come and go, kids run outboards from Isle
Au Haut to Stonington, money-making boat
Repairs, monitoring marine VHF radios. We
All know each other, winter’s long shadows,
Relenting bitter cold, Maine ice memories.
This poem relates hard winter memories on Maine
islands, such as Isle au Haut, Swans Island, and
Long Island (Frenchboro). See photo.