Poem by Marsden Hartley


In the Morraine, Dogtown Common. Marsden Hartley, Cape Ann, 1931

This Little City

This little city in the sea
steeped in the silence of some vast amenity
of wild, perpetual, courageous things–
cast with the bounty of brave commensurate wings
that have each hour of explicit day
enfolded in a swerved embrace
the solace
of commensurate verity–
shoulders mounting everywhere to face
the crest of crude contingency of place–
gift upon the brow of flushed
that makes even broken lip sing,
conscripted laughter of devout
pouring out of their eyes that greet
the ploughing wind
as others proud of the graced returning
of their all but vanished race
give back forespoken tithes of
somehow continuity–
others basking in brisk contrariety of sun–
these the couraged men,
the fishermen.

Marsden Hartley (1904-1943) was a Maine native who painted and wrote in Gloucester during the early 1930s.
His paintings of Dogtown Common have been the subject of two exhibitions at the Cape Ann Museum.