Come along, let’s hike
Forbidden property again this year.
We’ll sit on summer porches if we like,
Now that the coast is clear.
Our chins and cheeks will numb
But come, let’s walk some distant neighbor’s land.
We’ll view his view and taste the odd beachplum;
You need not hold my hand.
We’ll walk the winter shore
Beyond the wild grapes withered in the gale,
Embalmed bayberries even birds ignore
And eelgrass pickled pale.
We’ll ask each other why
(Of all the places in the universe,
Before our summer neighbor’s shuttered eye)
An island would rehearse
Interment every year
And reach our normal turning-point, the hush
Of cold Atlantic hours cutting clear
Across the brine-dwarfed brush.
If someone asks to know
What brings us strangers here in times of frost,
We’ll do what we agreed on long ago,
And tell him that we’re lost.
Daniel Waters: In 1996 his poems became a regular feature of Yankee Magazine. His quatrains have been featured in the Vineyard Gazette for over twenty years, and His verses have been recorded for daily broadcast on the Cape and Islands' National Public Radio. His sonnet "Jellyfish" won first prize at the Newburyport Art Association Poetry Contest. Dan was West Tisbury's first Poet Laureate, serving from 2006 to 2009. He has published several collections of poems, and is currently honing his song-writing skills. This poem is from his chapbook titled Needing Winter (Westmeadow Press, 2005, reprinted with permission).
About this column: This Sunday Afternoon Poem is provided by the Martha's Vineyard Poetry Society (MVPS). With almost 200 members, MVPS is the island's largest poetry society. MVPS is responsible for nominating and selecting our island's Martha's Vineyard Poet Laureate.