Morning at Keystone Harbor

Mast-high pilons root deep in the harbour sand

and slapped by bickering waves

abrupt and cold, as if salt-crusted sea cow’s tongues

washed the creosote, lapping the rough black skin

cringed in retreat at the horrid tar taste

and swelling again hunched their wet shoulders

A stadium wave pummels the shore

incessant and rough

stretched and rolled beyond limits

potential velocity breached and broken in foam

while terns and kittiwakes play on invisible currents

spearing the air with their descending cries

high wire acts on daredevil wings

flickering from kohl to silver

shimmering white then back to black

frontside to backside, fishschool patterns

flocking and swirling their silhouette like smoke

dissolving against the cyan blue sky

Two terns in the harbour mercilessly tease

a solitary grey-winged king of the pilon

the glaucous gull, the beggar bird

Detached and rooted he cries

tasting the aromas of

fresh baked bread and buttered crab legs

Across from the harbor

a broad windowed café gazes at the sea

surrounded by flowering weeds and dancing climber roses

red against white beside weathered ash benches

There, a writer sits in her windproof jacket,

intense and frowning

lost in the force and dimension of imagine

her broken stories mended by a smooth wooden pen

while, gathering the morning sun,

the oil of rose wafts subconsciously

into her work

Beyond her a mocking ghost fence

groans in the breeze and rattles in the wind

and traverses the meadow grass beside the coast road

a wooden signboard, wearing time-peeled paint,

hangs upon rust-bleeding screws

Chipped and blistered

it tells its own half-dead

but still kicking story

in black on white with three simple words

Private, it says.

No Trespassing

gulls painting may be purchased from:

Entered in:



April 1, 2012 · 5:03 pm

23 responses to “Morning at Keystone Harbor

  1. Ina

    This is so beautiful, the charm of a harbour 🙂

  2. Hi, Ina. It just feels great to get something posted again. I’ve been working on other less creative stuff – glad to find my toes back in poetry sand and all the more rewarding when my favorite poets reply. Thanks so much.

  3. I like the language of the beggar bird. Also the ‘fishnet patterns’. Jane

    • That’s so funny – I was trying to illustrate the way birds fly, like shoals of fish, with the whole community weaving a hollow shaped bag of sorts that bulges and twists and flows like sand in a jar – and I kept using the word haynet. I used to work with horses, so the haynet seemed like the right object but sounded wrong. Suddenly it hit me – ocean – fish – fisherman – OH! fishnet! duh…and the contortions I went through to get there. double duh. 🙂

  4. Your use of language is excellent! 🙂

    I love: “salt-crusted sea cow tongues
    washing creosote, lapping the black
    cringing in retreat”

  5. Kay Salady

    Excellent writing . . . so variegated and delightful!

  6. I’m glad I found your site. What I like about this poem is the way it moves from nature to the human (cafe, writer, fence etc), from the present to the past (rust-bleeding screws, time-peeled paint etc), and from the tangible to the speculative (who put that sign there, and why?)
    And we’re left wondering whether the writer is the writer of the poem or another. If she is the writer of the poem, then there’s that unexpected prohibition about further speculation: in black on white it tells us “Private – No Trespassing”. That’s a neat little conclusion!

    • I love it when someone reads a poem deeper than the surface and you dove right in. Your feedback actually pointed out something I wasn’t consciously aware of, but it rings true. Thank you so much for your thoughtful response.

  7. You have a rare descriptive prose, which also flows: ‘lapped by bickering waves’ was my favourite amongst many lovely turns of phrase. Great stuff!

  8. Very beautiful I must say the poetry and the picture both conveys the connection of mind and thoughts with nature 🙂
    Loved it
    Keep up the good work

  9. You have such a way with words, and I’m glad you’re writing again. I’ve missed seeing your name. I live in a coastal town, and although your description is far more vivid than this place is (it’s a very grey and miserable place to live), your words remind me of sitting on the seafront, watching seagulls whirling around in the sky.


  10. Such a vivid picture you paint with words!

  11. Cerridwen

    Thank you for such vivid imagery – you really took me to that salty, cool sea space with the birds crying overhead. :o) Here’s my offering this week:

    • Thanks cerridwen! I want to say I enjoyed your site as well, but can anyone “enjoy” shingles? According to you, many nasty things are far more desirable. Poor thing, I hope you recover quickly. Best of luck.

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