John Mayhew, “Minister of the Gospell to the Inhabitants of Tisbury and Chilmark united,” his gravestone states, settled in Chilmark in 1673 at Quenames.

Otter in middle coomb,
seal each morning, tail
of a deer through the woods—

I must begin, I must
begin again each day new
shocks of light in the chest,

the bud opening as it is formed
from nothing, but the gathering
of what continues, bringing

the word of living in the world
beneath this sky, the world,
slide of the spreading wave,

to bring this world, this word.

The world does not need verse
to be astounding—listen,
and seraphim sing the night:

wait, and the world will rhyme
purple from color into quiet,
like the passing of years,

drifting of the clouds, slant
of the ocean, always the ocean—
a place to begin, a place

to renew, raising soil,
harvesting rain: a world to build,
a word to bring, to begin:

at Quenames, the long fish.
Look, soon dawn will break
over those pushed waves,

heave of a new life.

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