I wrote a poem to commemorate both Stan and the fisherment of Port Dover (where his brother Garnet often sings a winter concert that includes songs they sang together). An earlier version of this poem was published in the Hamilton magazine Hammered Out, Winter 2006.
—Lin Geary, Paris, ON
you sit and sip noting how your glass of red has finally caught gives off some longed-for heat your bottle somewhere close— a bit of seedy lakeside retro seems all right and you’re deep in someone’s cushions their chesterfield of yesteryear with all this cottage chintz you’ve rented outside, it’s Fahrenheit at minus ten . . . a cold blue carapace where nameless hardened stars succeed in crabwise orbit, slide past your warming glass your purpose now: forget your loss begin again it’s January—you’re here tonight Port Dover so you hoist yourself a teasing jib of music, one that hasn’t left your head it’s from the Town Hall Concert where you sat an hour ago . . . your ticket you figure, a fortunate occlusion in your own hard weather and the music rushes back— Garnet, tall and balding, a shiny face his fretful tune a plucking song, his or Stan’s then a slow Acadian waltz or Garnet calling Stan come down this narrow street, and Stan somehow returning lofting names from older songs, other sorrows White Squall and Barrett’s Privateers The Mary Ellen Carter and then The Jeannie C. till you imagine fishermen and wives and boats and tell-tale lights and you see pale last lights, deadly green and final flashes that emanate from turtleback or Erie’s long-haul trawlers when their last few bubbles vent no noise and you hear the unheard scores of drowned men, their voices raging but was it water? or more like surface weather? what was it—that weight that sent them down? of course, there’s little for an answer, yet answers rise from darker green, the green of bottles racked and shelved in Dover’s bars no, it won’t be bronze or marble that acquit the drowned so often or so well it’s the hands that raise the glass, the shouts so dark and deeply felt inside a smoky inn a crowded shore bodega till somehow now inside your head the rowdy music dies and your mind is shed of fame and gossip your latticed thoughts, your nets your dreams and mind’s preoccupations gone quiet now, you let the vines, the grapes curl wild around your limbs let trellis tendrils hammock you to sleep— the ones you grieve are rocking you to sleep