cannery row

cannery row
to the characters of ‘Cannery Row’, the novella by John Steinbeck

With acknowledgement to for use of this image

i grew up by
the switch of
tides the long
run out, the rolling
edge back in,
brimming at then
bundling over the
lift of musselled reef
the sucking mud
of shell bed,
the smell of sea
dried out in sun
i knew,
first hand
Doc’s’ fascination
with the pools. the flit
of lives within, the nestling
into pebble of pincer
and tail flick yet had
never seen it so clear
in a fleet of words
tied one to the other
like the buoys of a
far flung net
out on the great tidal
pool he collected
his star fish and the
rest from,
across from his
laboratory and evening
concerts from his phonograph
the couple that lived in a
rusted boiler, the ‘boys’
who were men who were
self-made princes of
unemployment, who
made it principle
and virtue, the grocer,
looking through thick
lenses, fingers drumming
on the counter in
thought near the abacus,
all seemed a community
warmer than what i
knew, and the party
that closed with Doc reading
from the centuries dead poet’s
cry of love for life lost for love*
while the listeners wept in beery
and whiskey dreams, it was
a shot of sea blood to the soul
and i had never known
so much fresh
in the can of a book
i open still to read
aloud at any page

november 2018

*Black Marigolds. The CHAURAPANCHASIKA by CHAURAS translated by E. Powys Mathers quoted by Doc in the last pages of of Cannery Row

Copyright © 2018 Peter Le Baige. All Rights Reserved

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