Poetry

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There are days when I know that this land was high.

An island, you say?

Oh yes, now,

but its valleys run deep…

falling away

beneath reefs of ancient sunsets

before water

before time,

not as sunken

as soaring….

out of green depths

sprinkled with light

filling ridges of our past…

reaching towards mountain tops

and home.

Jo Scotford Rice moved to Martha’s Vineyard with her family during the winter of 1965. She kept a daily journal, and first wrote poetry at age 10. She died on Christmas Day, 2013.

Which are the words that make us

Young?  Armenia.

It is the only word I know

In your language.  Can you be young

In English?

Say the word suitcase subtracts

Ten years, sends you sky-bound

Over the Black Sea backwards.

Gone, your fear of flying.

Say parasol skims twenty more.

You stroll the shore, a patterned

Shield in hand.  Gone

Your interest in strangers.

Tolstoy, ten years.  Gone

Your penchant for reading.

Turkish Delight (traitorous

Words), nine.  Gone

Your memory of love.

You’re fourteen.

You have never left your village.

You have never dreamed of flight.

You have never read Tolstoy.

You have never spoken any language other than your own.

You have never loved.

You’re young.

Jennifer Tseng has been the Writer-in-Residence at Hampshire College, a Visiting Writer at Colorado College, and has taught Asian American Studies at UCLA. Her book The Man With My Face was winner of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s National Poetry Manuscript Competition and a 2006 PEN American Center Beyond Margins Award. Jennifer works at the West Tisbury Library and serves as Poetry Editor for Martha’s Vineyard Arts & Ideas.

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From padded window seat inside café

a cup of tea warms my hands

as cold winds shuffle sidewalk leaves

Two tables away sit two men

one in October years

the other May

Soiled clothing, old scuffed shoes, weathered

skin, bloodshot eyes, hair disheveled

The older begins reading to the younger

from newspaper wrinkled by other hands

“Rain and wind coming in tonight from the west,

tomorrow — clearing, with temps in high 30s

then dropping to low 30s

Saturday, sunny and in the high 30s.”

The young man’s chiseled face

seemingly stoic

suddenly tightened with the words

“Sunday, high 20s, snow mixed with sleet.”

I recall living outside for two years

I recall living with Weather.

William Waterway has been a poet since youth. He was the founder of Martha’s Vineyard Magazine and Nantucket Magazine; founder of the Martha’s Vineyard Poetry Society, and has been published by various media. He has won several national poetry awards.

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A far more simple life, some say,

with cocktails for a grand.

Cut farmers’ market’s vibrant blooms,

decline in rusted cans.

Wise diplomats, keen journalists,

deep psychoanalysts

sip pinot and pontificate

about why life’s amiss.

While “Summer people, summer not”

is lost on those who strive,

to have, not be, and fail to see

most struggle to survive.

II

Still Sphinxian she gazes out

with nature’s neutral view:

“Till this soil, paint these vistas;

’til golden days are through.

Then isle go on in harmony,

my elemental state;

your footprints and ideas gone,

our universal fate.”

Ed Dalton first ferried to Martha’s Vineyard in the late 1970s when he rented a bicycle, rode the Island, and stayed at the West Tisbury Hostel.  He, his wife Elizabeth, and their three daughters have spent many, wonderful summers on the Vineyard. They reside in Framingham.

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Think

Speak

Seek

Who cares

Make a stink

Share your view

Of you

Your words

Will do

Don’t hold back

Don’t follow

Old tracks

Think

Speak

Seek

No need

To be meek

Your thoughts

Must be told

Be bold

Don’t withhold

Think

Speak

Seek

You’ve only now

To take

Your bow

Don’t be afraid

Like God

You were made

What comes

To your mind

Is good

For mankind

What ever

It be

Think

Speak

Seek!

As a young man, Philip A. Zentz worked summers on Martha’s Vineyard, commercial fishing out of Menemsha and building stonewalls. A retired carpenter, cabinetmaker and schoolteacher, he now lives in East Bridgewater but often visits relatives here.

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I hear the shuffle of muffled feet.

Sounds uncertain, lacks direction.

Something’s happening.

I hear the shuffle of feet,

But, quicker now and more.

The sounds louden.

I hear the noises of masses moving,

their energies growing.

Less rambling now, sensing, finding

direction; gaining strength, feeling

momentum, coining slogans. Growing,

hoping, at last, HOPING.

The smell of battle nears,

laughter mixes with fear.

Will WRONG amend  will they clash,

will they blend?

I hear the stamp of booted feet.

Shouted, guttural cadences,

Clipped, disciplined military beat.

Can accommodation be reached

to keep the peace?

I see the marchers in

torchlit night,

placards gleaming,

their cause is right.

They are moving and

marching on, chanting and  shouting out their slogans.

Chanting and chanting over

again, to their fellow man.

Seeking to advance what

they know is right.

Amend the wrongs

before the throngs.

The soldiers march

and obey their call;

they will enforce

the government’s will.

Will WRONG amend

when they meet in the street.

Will they clash or bend,

will they clash or blend?

Stuart H. Parker is a retired engineer living in Oak Bluffs. He has enjoyed living on the Vineyard since 1999 writing poetry, “some of it good, some of it bad,” by his own reckoning. He dedicated this poem to Bishop Tutu,  winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and Archbishop of the Church of South Africa.

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You who have yet to learn

To lean on me, endure

A darker night than any before,

Or by candle light

Let me beckon you farther.

No ghostly haunts, no hesitation

No spilled flutes

Of imagined celebrations

Of published works

Stains my open hand.

Grand it is that you do not know

When you are least steady.

I will silently support

More than you

Have yet to imagine.

If it is a bright day

I will pardon your absence

Without that glance

That calls you back

To do your bidding.

If it is raining

I may be so young

To not swell and deny

You the glow

Of an unsheathed nib.

And in the snow

That must always fall

Erasing all words and punctuation,

Come to me,

I will be your plantation.

Jim Lowell is a winter mainlander and summer Cuttyhunk poet whose works have appeared in The Canadian Review of Literature, English, The Caribbean Writer and elsewhere.

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A large transport of the first order older than day hovers over the earth

like a stealth bomber programmed to make scheduled or emergency

landings to receive those prepared those surprised a giant vacuum to eliminate the overflow of guests sucking from them their last breath

seizing them gently permitting no more in breaths or out breaths

lifting each one into its maw before the craft soars past school yards

past fields at harvest past the sun setting seemingly slowly

over grasses hardly noticing a chill in the black moonless air

dark intruder dropping carcasses on every continent each sea

not registering myriad dreams souls may have dearly held until this.

Fan Ogilvie, West Tisbury’s second poet laureate, began Promising Young Poets, a poetry contest for high school students, has taken poetry and playwriting into the MV House of Corrections, and works with Summer Festival in Poetry featuring readings by national and local poets.

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Alpacas in the field of grass,

Their soft dense fleece has much mass.

Of alpacas I am a fan,

Whether they are brown or tan.

Their fleece has a chocolaty hue,

From the mountains of Peru.

Their fleece is vibrant, it seems to glow,

As they frolic through the snow.

Alpacas never trip or falter,

As you lead them by a halter.

Of many alpacas, Estrada is higher,

Because of this, he is a herd sire.

Alpacas are the sweetest creatures,

With their funny comical features.

A former Alpaca Discovery Student who visited the Island Alpaca Company last year, 9-year-old Milo Zelle was inspired by the creatures, especially a certain alpaca named Milo.

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A mouth filled with dust and cobwebs

unable to make words

barely a grunt

that heart

remains

in the forest

with wild blueberries

dangerous mushrooms

and

shimmering light

through pine needles

that heart

like mine

Joel Holmberg, former ceramist and resident of Martha’s Vineyard for 26 years, has turned his attention to poetry, short stories and monologues while living between Italy and Finland for 17 years.