Lobstermen know Maine’s discerning lights.
Low-angled sun is shadow defining, foretelling
Of fall months, impending hard winters. On
Open water more than near shore, watermen
First recognize bays and oceans darkening, tough
Under broad daylight, they oft appear silver-blue,
Tending trap markers bobbing in cold chop.
As fall advances, sunrise retreats further south.
Initially disconcerting, dawn’s first telling glimmer
Is far southeast, internal compasses adjust, reassure-
Ance that channel buoys and lighthouses remain
Positioned year round, consistencies mariner’s rely
On as daylight fades quickly to starlit nights, boats
Pitching, winter’s shivering spray on Gulf of Maine.
As mist and fog creep across home waters, lobster-
Men realize ship-lights can be deceiving. To weary
Eyes, boats may seem hovering above horizon, or
Worse yet, large ocean-going ships may appear like
Trawlers when size and distance seem distorted,
Vexing tricks on fatigued minds, hard-working days
Retrieving and resetting dozens of lobster traps.
Blesséd are those who labour close to shore, within
Sight of spruce-crowned granite hills, familiar
Twinkling lights that orient and guide to illuminated
Island thoroughfares, protected harbours, and lights
Every mariner welcomes, bright faces of wives and
And children, sunny hearts whilst pulling up to dock,
Anticipating hugs, quick toss of securing lines.
Most humble and warming of Maine’s distinctive
Lights are securely fixed on rocky land, flickering
Hearth-flames in evenings, thawing wind-chilled
Flesh and bone. Amber light of poured whiskey,
Passionate lights of a loving woman, pale moonlight
Rising on still water – strengthening dreams of hard-
Working lobstermen, rounding the point for home.