The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

"Spiritual powers and their wondrous functioning--hauling water and carrying firewood." --Layman Pang, upon his realization

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Notes From The North: The Poetry of Place

We are working in the town of Phippsburg, just south of Bath, at the mouth of the Kennebec River where Fort Popham stand dark above the tidal rip.

We are remodeling a house in Sebasco, just across the gut to Malaga Island, where in the 18 hundreds, the blacks and people of color were driven off their land and locked away in what would become Maine's Mental Institution. Most of them died there and are buried in its graveyard.

These were families of freed slaves, ship captain's mistresses, and Native Americans who happened to sit on land the Maine tourist trade coveted.

It is a dark area of channel today, controlled by the Fisher family, Hunt on the south pier and the Wells family of Fisher folk on the west, and never will they speak to each other.

Somewhere in this lost history, the families joined to drive the natives of Malaga Island to hell, and the air of this coast is heavy with their sin.

The lobstermen and shrimpers are friendly, but on watch at all times; you feel the eyes upon you even with no houses around. We are the ones from away.

The house we are working on is the Wells family home and haunted by generations of Wells. There have been other owners, but none have stayed, and the new folk we work for are teachers in Vermont, and summer in this dark community. They have owned the house less than a year, with two Golden Retrievers and two Corgis and no kids. Perhaps all to become lobster bait by Labor Day.

We will be glad when this long drive is over.

Winfield Brooks, Alna, Maine

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