Poet’s Corner


Illumination Night:
Oak Bluffs
By Dionis Coffin Riggs

Just once each year
I can recapture something
Of childhood’s summer-scented magic
When, On Illumination Night,
The band plays in the park.
And one by one, instead of stars,
The Chinese lanterns light the dark
Tree-sheltered sky.
The shadows of the oak trees, dwarfed
And twisted by the win,
Loom giantlike among
The little houses made of wood,
Or gingerbread.
At last each house is hung
From porch to peak
With lanterns, and the people
Sit in rocking chairs, or walk
Around, around the circle.
Wind-stirred sea air,
Marigolds and popcorn,
The smoke of candle wicks,
How brief the flame!

Dionis Coffin Riggs was a poet, author, newspaper columnist, and civic leader who was passionate about Martha’s Vineyard and West Tisbury. Riggs died in 1997, and her poets’ group, Cleaveland House Poets, is still going strong today.

The Dionis Coffin Riggs Day of Poetry takes place on Friday, August 6, her birthday, at 3:30 pm at the West Tisbury library. 

Poets with a connection to Martha’s Vineyard are encouraged to submit poems to Poet’s Corner curator Laura Roosevelt at ldroosevelt@gmail.com