3. Eastport Tidings (a poem)

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Eastport Tidings


In Chicago 

she comes silently on cat’s feet

in Frisco 

he comes thick and raucously stinking

(so say the poet sandburg

and the pirate drake.)

In San Francisco

in years long past

I sat on the dock of the bay


Harbor seals barked

seagulls squawked 

and I 

drenched in fog

listened to

baritone fog horns 

bellowing from afar

and soprano bells up close

clinking-clanking 

downhill on cable cars.


I measure my own Tidings 

from that summer of love

Fifty calendar years ago

my long hippie hair 

drenched in foggy dew

watching tides come and go.


Now on the same ocean

with another name

those old tidings ebb away 

in today’s foggy dawn 

here

downeast

eastport

maine.

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Drenched spider webs

glimmer like gold 

woven into cold metal railings

along Eastport’s sea wall


Opposite water’s edge,

clocks tick behind isinglass

windows in the chandler’s shop of old

(oldest in America I am told)

clicking mechanically the time

even as our lifeboats 

bobble from ebb tide 

to flood tide

and then bobble 

back again.


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Moon-faced clocks peer at me

from that old chandler’s shop.

tick-tock, tick-tock

cosmic cops of time

a lunatic clip-clop of 

counted hours

measured minutes

and sliced and diced seconds.


But they are not the moon

I was yearning for.


Silently on cat’s feet

today’s fog creeps through

passamaquoddy bay

no sunrise is seen

by latter-day

“people of the dawn”


They turn their locks

to open their shops

click-clock. click-clock

ever so fast

Only lobstermen and fisherfolk

are carried by tidings 

of ebb and flow, ebb and flow.

ever ever so slow


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This morning 

a mist shrouds sun and moon

yes, sun may burn off his thick stinking fog by noon

but moon’s work is a slow steady slog

even when shrouded by fog 

For her it is

Neap-tide 

and Spring-tide

Flood-tide 

and Ebb-tide

she weaves her tidings

through warp and woof

salt and brine 

she drenches us

with the water of life.


Drench yourself 

Drink it down, 

but do not drown.


moon maiden’s ebb-tidings

sweep our boats out to sea

moon mother’s flood-tidings

draws you

(and me)

back to port

safe haven

our harbor

home.


— Robert Béla Wilhelm

September 2017          





© Robert Bela Wilhelm 2017