Mail Boat

Early morning under clear skies,
I load our trash and a few tools
onto the Mail Boat
and ride the channel
with the pilot and a passenger
to Deer Harbor.
The old boat putts along
in the slow diesel stroke
of an earlier time
before the rush of horsepower.
The sea softly rolls in light winds;
snow capped mountains frame the distance.
I hesitate before these journeys,
not fear of water as much as losing home.
The older I get the deeper I root,
walking among moon shadows,
hailing Aldebaran and Sirius
and Luna’s first quarter.
I’ll work on our boat at the marina
then grocery shop and return
with the afternoon mail.
I come and go with the ease of these times
yet an unspoken part of me never leaves
and to that fertile darkness
I truly belong.




Loon – the Mail Boat






















Reading of “Mail Boat” with music by R.L. Burnside


10 Responses to “Mail Boat”

  1. David Barnes says:

    I really like this one Don. I am riding the channel with you. I too hesitate before these journeys—Home is heaven and roots are deep. It is good everywhere, but it is very good here where i truly belong.

  2. James Frid says:

    I like the story-telling nature of this poem. There is a special peace in the air in the early morning on the water before the world of humans comes alive with activity.

  3. Jack Lavelle says:

    I’m thinking there’s a book of “Island Poems” being hatched…

  4. I agree with Jack — your next book is birthing!
    Celebrating you.

  5. Veronica Lim says:

    Oh, Don, I really love this story-poem, this snapshot of your island life. I agree with previous comments that this could be part of a new book. How about a story about your experiences with your boat that you work on at the marina? I confess, I do love stories!

  6. bill dare says:

    So great… brought tears of Joy knowing you, Don.

  7. Ed Haimes says:

    “Of an earlier time before the rush of horsepower.” Like taking a hand saw and hand plane to a piece of oak. Deliberate, slow, so very satisfying. Of a time of true craftsmanship, when every step had a time honored process. Thank you for revealing the process of beauty.

  8. Sandy Brown Jensen says:

    I love the core hesitation at the center of this poem. The “fear of losing home,” and “the older I get, the deeper I root” turns the mind to the contrast between the sea and land, but then suddenly the reader is among the stars. I also appreciate the way the poem grounds itself in gritty day to day details from which the larger thought form can wander.

  9. David Banner says:

    As usual, yummy,Don!

  10. Tom Figel says:

    Don, this is sweet and melodic, wonderful. Still, I think it is mean of you to write so often about water, seemingly abundant water, when we are reading your work in parched Southern California.

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