As my mind wandered on Maine island
Waters, thoughts crested dark and deep,
Brine beneath my pitching boat, tragic
Interludes, time rewound and unfolded,
Lobstermen caught in deadly swells,
Windswept waves, abrupt immersion,
Rocky shores drifting out of sight.
For as many who lived on rugged isles,
Battering waves and numbing cold took
Their toll, many stories left untold, loss
Of life, hardship too painful to recall, ever-
Present risks, living and working on Maine
Bays, amongst lines of weighted lobster
Traps, cold-wet loop, death’s entanglement.
Dusky evenings before nightfall, somber
Shades on islands hovered amongst the
Trees, souls lingering in unrest, blending,
Fading into dense branches, clinging to
Families and memories they once loved,
Bodies and bones current-scorned, lost in
Streaming seaweed, pungent ocean muck.
Where is heaven’s joy, sacrificing peace for
Pain? Disembodied lobstermen neither living
Nor dead, they wandered with my mind in
Wave troughs, lost to redeeming light, sons
Husbands, and brothers, howling moans on
Rising seas, they approached my forward
Deck, anguished faces pale, eyes pitch dark.
Ride with me shades of men, to island ceme-
Teries where you belong, wailing winds your
Prayerful hymns, to Isle au Haut and Swan’s
Island sailed my ferry of tormented dead.
Plighted sea-lives, in ghostly glow we went
To Kimball Island Thoroughfare, family graves
Releasing their years of angst and dread.
Into spruce-tree covered hills they rose, some
Turned and looked back, others encouraged
Leaps of faith, ascending spirits, Frenchboro
Cemetery they fled, names on tombstones
They read, decades wandering waves, loved
Ones rebuilding death-torn lives, reunited
Gleaming lights, family circles mended.
When navigating Maine islands and lobster
Floats, I keep ever-mindful watch, radar and
Radio. Frightful lessons, I rarely glimpse at
Passing trees, especially at edge of dusky
Dark, avoiding wave-flickering lights drifting
To stands of trees. My course true, I drive my
Boat to safety of rotating lighthouse beams.
For more on deaths of Isle au Haut residents, see this link:
Isle au Haut Cemeteries. This poem was written to rhythm of
“Going In” from “Prometheus” movie soundtrack.