Tethered sailboats hunched in a row.
A gull sails the diagonal, taut and low.
Wind and sinking sun scribble the bay
With fleeting streaks of blue, green, gray.

No Atlantic lobstermen in my line
(Grim faces leathered from the frozen brine),
Nor any yachtsmen forebears in blue and gold.
I stand uneasy in the twilit cold.

We turn past the point and leave the bay.
The waves foam up and throw the wind their spray,
Soaking the windshields in the ferry’s hold.
I stand alone in the whipping cold.

The harbor was not for me; nor was it theirs.
The whole is no one’s, saved for no one’s heirs.
It’s of no account who I may be.
A life is a wave; it is not the sea.

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About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.