A Gay Head Christmas


By Mark Foster

Fern sensitive, hay-scented, royal, sweet
Grass blue-eyed, everlasting, star, and wool
And spleenwort, bellwort, loosestrife and sneezeweed,
Mayflower, monkeyflower, milkweed, and all
Are gone from their summer’s pride and glory
With cinquefoil, spicebush, and meadowsweet and heather —
All now withered and frost-bit, and hoary
In winter’s weather.
Cold winds on the cliffheads, cold seas beneath,
Grey skies and brown lands and stunted heath.
Twenty miles distant in Buzzards Bay
New Bedford is a dying fire at close of day.
But closer to hand, the red winterberry —
A flame in the furze to keep us still merry.

Mark Foster retired to Martha’s Vineyard after 20 years of summering here. He was formerly a teacher in Concord.