True to my words of earlier this week, I finished this song last night, and at the time, I liked it–but in the clear light of day, too much of it seems forced, especially the rhymes. But that is part of the process. I think I am almost there. Let me get my saw and chisel and see where it goes. There is a tune in my head, but the flow is certainly not how it should be

Ginny came out on the weekly to the island:
and hid underneath her shawl her unborn child.
A babe who never made it through the winter—
those storms that came blasting harsh and wild.
She said his eyes shone blue as any ocean
that somehow gave her comfort for a while.

Ginny lived alone out by the headland,
and came down once a week to get her mail.
She’d read that letter sitting out on Craig’s pier,
her blonde hair blowing out like ragged sails.
Then she’d fill a box with flour, salt, and coffee
and disappear beachward in the gale.

She came here on a ferry out of Belfast
for stranger reasons we may never know:
two cairns of stone remain to tell her story—
it must have been some fifty years ago…

To the East there is a farm that’s grown to bramble,
somewhere off the path to Ephraim’s well;
looking hard you might even see the outline
of old beds lined with stone and shells.
They say the old Indian left a headstone,
but where it’s gone nobody’s left to tell.

No one really remembers much of Joey.
He showed up in 1917.
Some say it was the gas that left him silent;
others say it’s what he must have seen;
still, he scrabbled berries, beets and parsnips
with his one arm that wasn’t blown off clean.

Joey came here missing something;
and died with so little left to show—
a slice of stone he battled to its ending—
It must have been some hundred years ago…

Jacob set his lines out every morning
before the heavy fog burned clean,
pulling off the knots of tangled seaweed—
his torn hands clutching ancient dreams.
with hopes that laid deep in the Atlantic— 
though nothing is ever as it seems.

He built his shack with mud and scavenged driftwood.
His doorway a whale’s jaw bleached and dried—
and a window covered up with a seal-skin
that kept his thoughts somewhere deep inside.
He salted cod in barrels from the shipwreck
that hit the ledge in 1825.

Jacob came out here long before us
for silent reasons we may never know
when cold and dark waters filled his dory—
it must have been two hundred years ago…

Epilogue :
You can sometimes feel them in the breakers
Tightening the line in Anson’s trawl;
and other times you can hear them in the moonlight
echoed from some lonesome buoy’s call;
and they will answer if you let them—
but words sometimes don’t mean that much at all.

Maybe you’ll find them when the day breaks
in shadowed shapes and wisps of morning fog,
or hid away in lonely private places
buried somewhere deep in Caymans Bog.
Maybe once there was a story
scrawled in some forgotten Captain’s log. 

All we have are words told by Nancy
in whispered words that linger hushed and slow.
No one here knows how she remembers
the queer folk from so many years ago…

No one here knows how she remembers
the queer folk from so many years ago…

 

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