COILING, IN THE SHELL

1

to speak of romance and sinking
hand-in-hand couples
approach
as a candlelight dinner
more than tragedy

the golden love I viewed as a lighthouse
my lighthouse
one of two back in Ohio, Ashtabula
marking
my own shipwreck, as well

in another history, Capt. Heman Smith
(He-Man), of Colonial Eastham
established a fire akin to a spire
(the latter, perchance with a clock
or weathervane)

marking time, the years

Chatham Light
2 white flashes
every 10 seconds

(2 bulbs revolving close together
followed by long silence)

originally from twin tower
steel shell with brick interior

2

which way the wind now?
the lifeline, the hymn
“Pilot me!”

3

aloof temples
to sails and rigging
extreme discomfort, sacrifice

in the dangerous occupation
to be murdered within sight of shore
once the storm broke

not just rock and water
but wind, especially
unpredictable, these potential

remote ruins of antiquity
American abbeys
at the confluence, hence

the fire in its crown, its eye
resolutely
facing up to uncertainty

4

one night, entranced by movement
in three rectangles of soft light
in the keeper’s house, considering
the occasional guest on the island
maybe a window with a wafting curtain
or secretive figure moving to the side

daylight revealing
only a pole with Old Glory
in front
of those three panels

more than the custom house
or harbormaster
this reminder of deception

nobody sees far into the water
and often little of what’s upon it

trade and fishing, mostly
occasional cruise castle or
the warship or well-known pirate

(death lurking below
in the rocks,
in the clouds and fog)

say what you will of radar, sonar
and satellite positioning
but life, love, and politics
remain fragile

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
To see the full set of seacoast poems,
click here.

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