Gloucester Fishermen’s Memorial Service, August 22, 2015

Fishermen's Memorial 2015

fish mem 2 2015

From: Maximus, to Gloucester, July 19, 1957

A fisherman is not a successful man
he is not a famous man he is not a man
of power, these are the damned by God

When a man’s coffin is the sea
the whole of creation shall come to his funeral

it turns out the globe
is below, all lapis
and its blue surface golded
by what happened

this afternoon, there are eyes
in the water

the flowers
from the shore

awakened
the sea

Men are so sure they know very many things
they don’t even know night and day are one

A fisherman works without reference to
that difference.  It is possible he also

by lying there when he does lie, the jowl
to the sea, has another advantage, it is said.

‘You rectify what can be rectified,’ and when a man’s heart
cannot see this, the door of his divine intelligence is shut

Let you who paraded to the Cut today
to hold memorial services to all fishermen
who have been lost at sea. . .

not knowing what a fisherman is
instead of going straight to the Bridge

and doing no  more than–saying no more than–
in the Charybdises of the
Cut waters the flowers tear off
the wreathes

the flowers
turn
the character of the sea  The sea jumps
the fate of the flower  The drowned men are undrowned
in the eddies

of the eyes
of the flowers
opening
the sea’s eyes

Charles Olson

downloadPlease enjoy this clip from the film, Captains Courageous, which illustrates the treacherous life of the Gloucester fisherman.

Poem by Kent Bowker – Gloucester in 2042

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No Trespassing #17 Jeffrey Marshall (c) 2012

 

 

 

2042

 

Acidic sea, the jelly fish swarm, bonanza

declares the Gloucester Daily Times, July 21 2042

‘fishing hasn’t been this good for decades’

and on the sixth and last page

photos of Dog Town then and Now.

A century apart both treeless but cultivated now

burned off a while ago, been fixed up since then.

The office of Enviromental Crisis told us today, page 3,

‘the sea level rise seems to be leveling off now at  10 feet

ending the period of rapid change’, that’s a relief.

 

The wide Annisquam roars across what used to be the Cut

sloshing back and forth eroding the old drawbridge

and sea wall, covered now, except at low tide.

Mayor declares region hazardous, forbids walking on the wall.

 

The Times tells us the railroad bridge, close to the water

needs fixing again to keep Gloucester’s rocky island cluster

connected to the scattered  islands going to the mainland.

Bridge repairs necessary, ‘recent storms have damaged

the bridges to East Gloucester Island, and Eastern Pt. Isl.’

‘Lighthouse status precarious’ declares Coast Guard.

 

A memorial is planned for the tragic death of Mae Porter

died in a fire on Brier Neck Island.

The fire boat couldn’t reach the Isle

high seas in the Good Harbor inlet blamed.

 

Well, that’s today’s news,

not too bad, considering….

 

Kent Bowker 2015

 

 

Kent Bowker

 

 

 

Kent Bowker  started with poetry at Berkeley in the Fifties, then became a physicist working mainly in optics.  His new book of poems is Katharsis: Sifting Through a Mormon Past.  He lives in Essex, next to the Great Marshes and is treasurer of the Charles Olson Society.

 

 

 

The First Sentence- New Poetry by Robert Gibbons

Stoffa (2)

The Old Fish Shack           Michael Stoffa (1923-2001)

 

The First Sentence

 

It’s not often

a poet allows

him or herself

to do nothing, but

I just accomplished

this rare occurrence out

here in the newly renovated

shed, an effort of two weeks

scrubbing, sanding, painting,

repairing hole in ceiling, not to

mention chasing years’ worth of

insects back to nature.

 

It’s based on Scandinavian

disconnects I read about called

Hermit Huts, everything’s unplugged.

There was one photo in the article, an interior

so simple it made me think of van Gogh’s room,

& fondly recalled a similar space in Mexico, when

Manuel Avila Camacho compared our $40-month shack

to Vincent’s in Arles.

 

Although I’m the least handy of men

other than a certain propensity

toward bricolage in language,

I thought while looking at

the photo & its caption,

cozy 84-square-foot hut,

“I can do that!!”

 

The woods of Gotland Island, Sweden’s

got nothing on our backyard here in Portland.

I’m not losing sight of this accomplishment mentioned

earlier, what, poet doing nothing for a change? Lasted ten

minutes, after nailing latest curtain on windows facing West,

making shade against lowering August afternoon sun. Stan Getz

came on Jazz Radio out of San Francisco with Dreams from his album

Voyage, which I pulled in unplugged, battery only on indispensable computer,

doing nothing other than staring listening dreaming traveling readying to jot down

the first sentence come to mind.

 

-Robert Gibbons

 

 

 

 

Robert Gibbons

Robert Gibbons, a former Gloucester resident, is the author of nine books of poetry. In 2013, in addition to completing a Trilogy of prose poems with Nine Point Publishing,  he published Olson/Still: Crossroad, a brief study concerning the similarities in approach to art by Olson in words, and Clyfford Still in paint.

 

 

 

 

The Fort Hotel is Here

glo panorama

Today we offer a letter written by Fort business owner Ann Molloy to the editor of the Gloucester Daily Times, from November 4, 2011. The perspective of time, and events which have transpired since then concerning the re-zoning of the Fort to accommodate the construction of a luxury hotel there, weights this letter with a heartbreaking realism.

Don’t Throw Gloucester “Off-Balance”

  What makes Gloucester so cool? Why do you love it here? How does it make you feel? What makes it so great?   I like that it’s real. It’s authentic. I like that it was built with hard workers, tough working class men and women. We have something special here, something different. Saltwater runs through our veins.   Tourists come here and recognize we’re different. There’s magic here. We’re as tough as our granite and as powerful as our ocean waves. Our hands are calloused and our clothes worn. We’re the finest kind…   Now I ask-  what are we becoming? Do we really want to sell out? Should people with big money from out of town be able to change our look, our feel, our very existence? They want to pretty us up,  put in a Harbor Walk for the tourists, with kiosks that say, ‘This is where the fishermen “used to” tie up, and “used to” unload their boats.” Words uttered from a Harbor Walk representative at City Hall last summer. Was it a Freudian slip?

crime scene

What is the spirit of Gloucester? Is it a grand hotel and marina down the Fort? Is that really what we want? People from out of town move here because they feel the power here and fall in love with Gloucester. What kills me is the people who move here and then try to change it.   As I think about the days ahead, it aggravates me to know I must take time away from my family and job (a marine industrial job down the Fort) to fight again, for the third time, to save the Fort from rezoning, therefore allowing a hotel. And as the mayor(Carolyn Kirk)  was quoted in the paper saying “Third time’s the charm”.  It honestly makes me sick, and at this point after about four years of fighting this, it feels like harassment.

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But now the real big bucks have arrived. The third richest man in Massachusetts (Jim Davis,) can afford to sway votes and public opinion with his cool million (half million for the naming rights, and half million for construction) for the New Balance Newell Stadium. Dollar signs in one’s eyes blurs vision sometimes.   Mr. Davis paying double and triple for property will increase all the Fort people’s taxes, by creating a false sense of property values. How many will be forced out? This is what some people want. Is it what you want? Do you want to look like Newburyport, or Newport, RI? Do you want their traffic? Why would anyone pay so much over value for this property? And talk about putting the cart before the horse, especially after rezoning failed in the last two, very recent, attempts. I sure wish he wanted to make sneakers there.   Many will say I’m living in the past. Fishing is never coming back, so I’m dreaming. We’re holding the city hostage. Please look a little deeper, before passing judgment. Look at the thriving MI (marine industrial) businesses that are down the Fort.   If this zoning goes through, it will benefit my family financially, if we wanted to sell out, but at what cost? I’d rather leave our future generations with something real, authentic and of substantial value, like my grandfather and father did for us. Showing us, with hard work and ambition, you can accomplish great things. I think that’s worth much more than selling out, and leaving them a trust fund.   The Fort is basically an industrial park, a marine- industrial park, and the people who live there deal with that daily. Do we want to put tourists and their kids down there with all the big trucks? Sounds like an accident waiting to happen. Do we really want more traffic? Our way of life as we’ve known it will no longer exist. Tourists won’t even want to come here.   So, when you’re sitting in traffic for an hour, trying to get over the bridge, will you think of this letter and say “Wow, what have we done? What have we let our town become?”   If you value what we have here, will you stand up with me and help me “Hold the Fort”, before it’s too late? It could be your neighborhood next.

Ann Molloy

Neptune’s Harvest Fertilizer

88 Commercial Street     (Down the Fort)

 

ann photo (2)

Ann Molloy was born and raised in Gloucester. After several years of traveling around the country and world, she settled back here and has been helping run her family business, located down the Fort and on Kondelin Road. For over 20 years, Ann has been in charge of Marketing and Sales for the Neptune’s Harvest division of Ocean Crest Seafoods, which came about as a way to fully utilize 100% of the fish, by turning the gurry (everything that’s left after you fillet a fish) into an organic fertilizer. She has a wide knowledge of organic fertilizers, and the fishing industry. She also loves to paint, write, and see live music.

Fresh Poetry from Melissa Cummings

queen anne's lace

‘Queen Anne’s Lace’ ~ Mary Maletskos ~ Folly Cove Designers

 

STILL AND BROWN

 

Stock still and brown

against a background
of granite stones and dirt
rabbit silent turns
a white tail to me
and leaps into the green
chihuahua notices
looks
O K
To the woods
in the steam heat
anxious for shade
finding the cool perfect
paths filled in green
colorful with mushrooms
taupe and ecru splashed
with scarlet with crimson
convex like a dinner mug
concave like a platter
gray with slivers of white
entering from the circumference
Lengthen a leash and stop it
reachable by the left hand
to rub across bites
at the top of my back
plenty of sticks for scratching
Tell a new inhabitant of
Virginia Lee Burton’s home
what it was like to visit
and own Folly Cove Designers
placemats curtains napkins
little towels now in
The Cape Ann Museum
as is the broken tombstone
of John Lane found by poet
Charles Olson downtown
along the railroad tracks
replaced in Lanesville’s
Cove Hill Cemetery

 

Melissa de Haan Cummings
23 July 2015
74bdd-melissa2bcummingsMelissa de Haan Cummings majored in French and English Literature at 
Bryn Mawr. She has published poetry in a number of journals. 
 She describes her interests as including, “much small boating around Cape
 Ann, love of Charles Olson, Hatha yoga practice since 1969."

Poem by Robert Gibbons

beatrix-potter1903

The Tailor of Gloucester by the Fire. Beatrix Potter (1866-1943)

 

 

 

The Fireplace Tongs

 

 

On occasion, the fact that something gets lost

forces one to value it all the more. Tongs I found

in ashes of fireplace in ruins of the cottage,

grandfather’s birthplace, in Ballyhaunis. Asked

his last remaining sister, Margaret Lyons, & two

daughters, Bridie & Noreen, if I could take the tool

back home. Made of iron, simple, ancient contraption

with single hinge at top to open & close, while end tips

flattened to better grasp the log. Put them to good use in Salem,

Gloucester, even Winchester & Scituate, where I lose track of them,

when moving to Portland, down-sizing to three-room apartment, what

with no fireplace. Yet, until lost never once imagined heat & ingenuity

of the forge & clever blacksmith combining to form such a fine implement,

better etched in mind, here & now, than back then held in hand.

 

Robert Gibbons

 

 

 

Robert Gibbons

Robert Gibbons, a former Gloucester resident, is the author of nine books of poetry. In 2013, in addition to completing a Trilogy of prose poems with Nine Point Publishing,  he published Olson/Still: Crossroad, a brief study concerning the similarities in approach to art by Olson in words, and Clyfford Still in paint.

 

 

Two New Poems by Melissa Cummings

fog on glo harbor

Boats Docked in Fog (Copper Paint Factory as seen from East Gloucester) Joseph Margulies (1896-1984)

The Wind Turbines


The wind turbines
are still
Fog in East Gloucester
may be down town
Lanesville free of it
in a barefoot sun
pitching tennis balls 
to young hitters
who want to be
inside may be 
tired
then leave all that
for the increased 
warmth of Beverly
Feel a fog
half way there
coming across
Pride's Crossing
And on the return
see the white stuff
and how it blankets
half the turbines
Find home 
still free of it



Melissa de Haan Cummings
29 May 2015


WILLI WAW


Two streaks on the water 
rush toward the river
like giant fish
waiting for the suck
back of ocean
preceding tsunami
in a wash of potential fog
which fails to arrive
with a brisk northwesterly 
followed by no storm
a miniature willi waw
soon returned to calm
bringing out a sweatshirt
and a sweater
bringing Marge 
off the porch
with its temperature drop



Melissa de Haan Cummings
13 May 2015
74bdd-melissa2bcummingsMelissa de Haan Cummings majored in French and English Literature at 
Bryn Mawr. She has published poetry in a number of journals. 
 She describes her interests as including, “much small boating around Cape
 Ann, love of Charles Olson, Hatha yoga practice since 1969."

 

Neptune’s Harvest Does Gloucester Proud

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By Laurel Tarantino

My friend June and I were fortunate to accompany Ann Molloy and her sister Maria Churchill up to Hampton Beach, NH last night, to see them accept Neptune Harvest’s award from the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment. The award was for outstanding innovation and leadership in achieving sustainable practices in the Gulf of Maine.

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The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment was established in 1989 by the governments of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts to foster cooperative actions for a healthy Gulf of Maine. Let me say, Neptune’s Harvest is doing just that and then some.
I grabbed an agenda and started jotting some highlights as the presenter of the awards gave a brief description of why each recipient was being given their award, thinking I could write all about it from my notes. Well, I never did take shorthand, and I can barely read my chicken scratches, but what I did bring out of this ceremony was a great sense of pride, for my friends, for Neptune’s Harvest, and for the City of Gloucester. The company that Neptune’s was in last night was exemplary on so many levels. Volunteerism, Protection, Conservation, Recycling, Awareness, Sustainability, Stewardship, Future… I capitalize these words as they are titles with so many efforts and people backing them up and following through on behalf of our Ocean, Watersheds, Wildlife, Forests, and even included, Community Pride.

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As it turns out, I won’t make a great journalist, but I can tell you I’m terrifically happy there are people out there, not only watching over our environment, but doing things to protect it. When I went outside and saw young kids on Hampton Beach, I thought, “Do they know what’s going on in that big old ocean behind them? Are they aware how privileged they are to be playing in the surf and sand? Will they be the next generation of Stewards who will do great works like the people upstairs in that conference room?” I certainly hope so. If they don’t,  where are the birds going to migrate, fish spawn, plants flourish and children play?

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Why should Gloucester be proud of Neptune’s Harvest? Since 1986, they have been a leader in the industry and a model to follow. A spin off of their parent company, Ocean Crest Seafoods, a wholesale seafood company established in Gloucester in 1965. After processing a fish for its edible portion,  up to 70% becomes waste. With the state of Massachusetts and local universities they developed a process to turn 100% of that waste into a highly beneficial organic fertilizer. Waste once dumped back into the ocean or into landfills is now improving soil locally and worldwide. Producing stronger healthier plants reduces and eliminates the need for pesticides. Increasing the organic matter in soil allows the soil to retain more water, reducing runoff and in turn, maintains healthier watersheds. Neptune’s sells their products out of Gloucester in one-pint containers and up to 4,500-gallon  tanker trucks. The times that we’re in, with folks wanting to be rid of GMOs in their foods, I can only see Neptune’s growing each year.
Let’s just hope we can hang onto our fishing industry so the wonderful things that Neptune’s is doing can continue for generations to come.
I was truly impressed with each award recipient. As much as I wish I could talk about all of them, I have to stick with our home team as I’m short on time. I was never once bored at this function, as can happen as we all know.  I think  these people were so passionate about this all- important subject Marine Environment, they made you want to learn more.
On the ride home, on Rte. 133 just outside of Rowley, there was still enough daylight to cast a beautiful glow on some horses’ healthy coats. All four of us, at the same time said, “Wow!” Guess you had to be there. Green, green grass, happy romping horses, just an all around perfect scene. Ann beat us to what we were all thinking… “We truly live in a beautiful place, don’t we?” A question that didn’t require an answer, but one we should all think about each day and ask ourselves, “What can I do to help keep it this way?”

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Congratulations Neptune’s Harvest. You absolutely deserve the recognition.

Laurel Tarantino is on the Board of Editors of Enduring Gloucester

In Memory of Linda Crane

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Linda Crane performing her opera. Photo courtesy of Kent Bowker

CROSSING

LINDA, THE SHAMAN PASSING

We are watching Linda flicker

between living and dying

frail, morphine fogged she reclines

in her hospital bed at the head of the stairs

planning her new kitchen cabinets.

Her smile is for us to see

to say she accepts our love.

She’s the shaman sometimes, or not

the force is dimmed the light remains

clear sometimes, her poetry seems

to have been written.

 

Do we grieve, or celebrate

the planned on positive future.

We will celebrate today for tomorrow

none can see longer than this

she is thinning each week

her smile broadens across her thin cheeks

wider each week it seems

as her faith belays our fearful

expectation, her strength flickering

each day toward tomorrow.

 

 

The poet has become bird

light, translucent reaching up

the presence of invisible wings

golden, radiant in the faith in nature

there is no betrayal, no flinching

no crying, the bear stalks about

the spirit cave containing her

We can’t see these as we sulk

about in the shadow of our fears.

 

The Crane dances with the snake

overland to rippling waters

of the mother’s fecund ocean

we travel in the lower world to

seed the ending start beginning

her drum beat leads the passage

of the teacher, of her living

power animal, to come to

the lady of grace, Mary.

 

“Barnard’s windows open into life

a hard cold thing inside me melts.

I can see all the beauty within

the violet iridescence of light

sliding past the dread night sweat

I call for help as the stream

is strong at the crossing. Weak in fear

stroke with me together

at this crossing I am afraid.

 

“I can see the crossing, that is my job

come help me stroke, share these berries

the spring sweetness, the taste of life.”

 

Kent Bowker 6/18/2000

 

 

Ceremony

ashes to sea

Friends watch Linda Crane’s ashes scattered from Halibut Point.  Photo courtesy of Kent Bowker

On casting Linda’s ashes into the sea

at Halibut Point,

 

Linger the sound of our hearts,

beating, sad, deep and slow.

Remember the circle of hands

the touch rippling one to another.

Remember the sea wind shine

illuminating our emotion,

gulls overhead cawing,

hard lucent shore rocks.

 

Linger the sound of the sea,

linger the tears and sorrow,

as the slow drum beats.

All of us will eventually come

to this hard chiseled space,

a quarry for pavers and headstones

the place where her soul’s ashes reside,

floating, leaving and returning on the tide.

 

Kent Bowker 6/1/2015 (from 7/9/2000)

 

 

Kent Bowker

Kent Bowker  started with poetry at Berkeley in the Fifties, then became a physicist working mainly in optics.  His new book of poems is Katharsis: Sifting Through a Mormon Past.  He lives in Essex, next to the Great Marshes and is treasurer of the Charles Olson Society.

Poetry by Robert Gibbons

Without the Twin

 

roger martin pebble beach

Pebble Beach ~ woodcut, 1973. Roger Martin (1925 – 2015)

 

I’m camped out around the Paleo fire.

All my irons in it, when one half-second

after I want to ask her if she’s seen the gold-

finch yet this spring, it darts out of the sumac.

 

It’s a Jungian shudder flows through my bones,

as soon after I think of Charles Olson, that Titan,

who downright stole fire from the gods, & paid an

awful price with voracious eagle gnawing at his side.

 

Damn, jazz & poetry, painting, I told her

I thought immediately of Francis Bacon, let

alone Bob Rauschenberg, damned, to have such

insights require light from the fire of the gods, but

 

who’d trade it in for any normalcy I see all around,

some poor excuse for life barely lived, some life

without the twin, as Olson wrote, of life itself:

Art.

Robert Gibbons

 

 

Robert Gibbons

Robert Gibbons, a former Gloucester resident, is the author of nine books of poetry. In 2013, in addition to completing a Trilogy of prose poems with Nine Point Publishing,  he published Olson/Still: Crossroad, a brief study concerning the similarities in approach to art by Olson in words, and Clyfford Still in paint.