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POEMS

Longshoreman

By John F. Carver

He came in the winter months

When the lakes were frozen,

And the ships were safe at port.

When the days grew short,

And the nights grew long,

To pull us on a sled

Across the frozen pond.

Off we'd go,

His skates digging in the ice,

And the winter wind

Cold against our faces.

We went to the cabin

Deep in the woods,

The snow so high on the ground,

And the sun so low in the sky.

We sat by the great wood stove

And ate our kipper snacks and crackers.

We went to the park and watched the jumpers

Fly off the curved snow slopes,

Gliding like birds and landing,

So smoothly, on the snow packed ground.

When we left for home

The flakes were falling fast.

The tire paths were our guide,

And the heater's whrrr our constant companion.

One day in early March

When the winds were strong,

And the days were growing longer,

He came with a kite he had made,

And took me out to fly it.

Higher and higher it climbed

In the patchy blue March sky,

As we watched with the wind against our cheeks,

And the softening ground beneath us.

Then, in early spring

When winter let go its icy grip,

And the lakers began to move

From their thawing slips,

He was gone again

To ride the Great Lakes,

And move the grain and ore,

To pull hard on the ropes

And set the many knots,

And lock the hatches tight,

To look across the open water

And pass the time in solitude,

Waiting to return again

In the winter months,

When the sun was low

And the nights were long

And the ships were safe at port.

JOHN F. CARVER lives in Kenmore. He is the author of a collection of poems called "The Raven Speaks."

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