Eastern Shore

1He stands and walks as if his knees were tensed
2To a pitching dory. When he looks far off
3You think of trawl-kegs rolling in the trough
4Of swaying waves. He wears a cap against
5The sun on water, but his face is brown
6As an old mainsail, from the eyebrows down.
7He has grown old as something used and known
8Grows old with custom; each small fading scar
9Engrained by use and wear in plank and spar,
10In weathered wood and iron, and flesh and bone.
11But youth lurks in the squinting eyes, and in
12The laughter wrinkles in the tanbark skin.
13You know his story when you see him climb
14The lookout hill. You know that age can be
15A hill of looking; and the swaying sea
16A lifetime marching with the waves of time.
17Listen—the ceaseless cadence, deep and slow.
18Tomorrow. Now. And years and years ago.
RPO poem Editors: 
Jim Johnstone
RPO Edition: 
2015
Special Copyright: 

Poem used with permission of the Charles Bruce Estate.