BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL # 18-a visit to the Emerson Inn by the Sea

As a child, growing up on Banner Mountain, I began writing poetry and continued writing it in high school. I loved reading poetry and hearing my teachers discuss poets and their work. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would become a poet. And I certainly never thought that one day I would spend a night at the same Inn by the Sea where Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) had visited, where he had been inspired to write some of his masterpieces.

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This lovely bed and breakfast–the Emerson Inn by the Sea–is where Ralph Waldo Emerson sometimes vacationed.  The Inn has been renovated and the renovation left a portion of the original rooms where Emerson had stayed with his family. It was renamed Ralph Waldo Emerson after their most celebrated guest. Much of his inspiration, it is said, came from visiting this rocky coastline of Rockport, Massachusetts.

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Rockport -- A Place Beside the Sea

Rockport — A Place Beside the Sea

I visited this romantic place and stayed at this unique Emerson Inn by the Sea with my husband and part of our family a few years ago when we returned to New England to show our children where we had lived. My husband was stationed at Pease Air Force Base, Portsmouth, New Hampshire for three years. We lived in Kittery, Maine when our third child was born. What a treasure to revisit New England, see old friends, begin a new poem, and to set foot on the rocky coast where Emerson once found inspiration to write!

© Freeda Baker Nichols

The Sea is a Mermaid

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                             THE SEA IS A MERMAID

The sea is a mermaid who keeps tapping, tapping at the door
like the raven in Edgar’s poem who quoted “Nevermore.”*
Water lapping, gently lapping on the banks of Gloucester’s shore.

Many times before, with his crew, Nate had gone down to the sea.
He had always returned to his home and sweetheart, Lora Leigh.
Lora Leigh’s  flaxen hair was ruffled by the late autumn breeze.
Her eyes glistened like dewdrops fallen on pale lilac leaves.

Red clouds gathered slowly that morn across the northwestern sky.
Lora felt the premonition though she prayed it was a lie.
She begged Nate, “Please heed the warning. Promise me you will not go
down to the sea this morning.” And he replied, “Don’t worry so.”

Nate and his crew secured positions aboard Athena Gale.
They waved to their loved ones and then set the swordfish boat to sail.
Lora cried. Her heart beat faster than it ever had before.

Like the raven in Edgar’s poem who quoted “Nevermore,”*
the sea is a mermaid who keeps tapping, tapping at the door.
The Athena Gale and crew returned to Gloucester nevermore.

The force of hurricane winds quickly sank the ship far off shore.
One life raft found unoccupied called to mind each crewman’s name.
Its emptiness told the story with a message all too plain.

The foghorn signaled strongly against the raging tempest’s roar
but fell mute to worn-out fishermen a hundred miles from shore.
The hurricane’s powerful winds thrust high the dangerous waves
that heaved the sailors down to the dark and silent, salt-lined graves.

“What did they  tell the children when each one questioned, ‘Why
did the Athena Gale sink and all the fishermen have to die?'”

Did they tell them Nate and all his crew were predestined to drown?
That it was a Perfect Storm that swept the ship Athena down?
That the sea is a mermaid who keeps tap, tapping at the door?
That she claims the lives of the weakest and the strongest crewmen?

Some go down to the sea in ships and come safely back to shore.
Others go down to the sea in ships and return . . . nevermore.
Water lapping, gently lapping on the banks of Gloucester’s shore.

* Reference to “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe

 

© Copyright, Freeda Baker Nichols   (A work in progress. This poem is based on the true account of the Andrea Gail, the fishing vessel and all its crew who were lost at sea in 1991 during a so-called “Perfect Storm.” Names in my poem are fictitious. Other names and fiction have been added. My inspiration to write this poem began with a visit to Gloucester, Massachusetts in 2006. I stayed at the Emerson Inn by the Sea in Rockport, Massachusetts. And I visited Gloucester where I took the pictures of the monuments honoring fishermen and their families. As I sat by the sea, I listened to the lapping water and wrote the first line of this poem. These ten years later, it’s ready to post, but I doubt that it’s finished. I’m posting it now with respect to the memory of the Andrea Gail and her crew.)

 

 

 

NaBloPoMo-2013-11-06 Emerson Inn by the Sea

This lovely bed and breakfast--the Emerson Inn by the Sea--is where Ralph Waldo Emerson spent some time.

This lovely bed and breakfast–the Emerson Inn by the Sea–is where Ralph Waldo Emerson spent some time. And this is where my husband and I stayed when we vacationed in New England a few years ago.

The Emerson Room was across the hall from the room where my husband and I stayed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARalph Waldo Emerson’s quote:  To fill the hour–that is happiness.

To fill my hour one evening by the sea, I was inspired to begin a poem  which turned into a narrative.  I’d like to share the beginning lines in today’s post.

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The Sea is a Blue Mermaid

The sea is a mermaid that keeps tapping at the door.
Water lapping gently on the banks of Gloucester’s shore.
The foghorn’s beckoning sound within the ocean’s roar
mute to tired fishermen one hundred miles from shore.

© 2013 Freeda Baker Nichols

Seldom in the Red

Poetess

Poetess (Photo credit: Ant Smith)

Some poets burn their candles to the snuff;
it makes me shout that I have had enough!
I scan their lines for something new to learn;
they craft their works with words I can’t discern.
They write of politics, expose love scenes.
In outer space, they claim, they grow green beans.
They speak of chemo rooms like vintage wine
and pen a parody on porcupine.
A freeway runs along the coast to Maine;
they bus me there through sheets of coldest rain.
They guide me to the quaint brush arbor meets;
I pray for soldiers on Iraqi streets.
The poets tell of trains that dance the rails,
then paint the ships at sea with wind-torn sails.
Like wheels, they roll to publish what they know.
Some win awards and stash their dabs of dough!

© 2013 Freeda Baker Nichols

English: a beach in maine on a clear day with ...

It’s a Writer’s Life–Page Six– THE AWFUL SWAN

What’s a writer to do when she is also a poet and she receives word that a poetry editor of a local newspaper needs a poem for Saint Patrick’s Day? Nothing a poet in that situation can do except create a poem.  Good or bad.  Long or short. Rhymed or free verse.  Makes sense or not. The following poem was written especially for Poet’s Forum and was published in the Benton Courier, an Arkansas, U.S.A. based newspaper.

THE AWFUL SWAN

The Irish Sea at Dublin town
has pretty shells enhancing
the shaded shamrocks that abound
where leprechauns go dancing.

The Emerald Isle shines brightly
at sunset on the Shannon
while children gather nightly
by the knees of Tom O’Bannon

to hear how he and his friend, John,
once sailed upon Kilarney seas
in search of that great, snowy swan
who ate St. Patrick’s cheese.

“We found him with a craw full
near Macgillycuddy’s Reeks,
and he was simply awful,
Tom said, among the children’s shrieks.

cCopyright, 2012 Freeda Baker Nichols