They are not the stuff of magazines and advertisements.
Rarely as photogenic, or clean and bright.
Most of them carry scars on their paint and rust
on the machinery and chains.
Mostly, they smell of dead fish and lobster corpses
that a daily flushing from hoses and brooms can never eliminate.
They are the workboats.
Dirty and real, and to me far more perfect
than the glossy ads that drew me here the first time.
They are why I keep coming.
It is a different kind of beauty,
built less on a color wheel and more on tradition
and the belief that the hard work has purpose
even when it is not seen,
even when it is belittled or ignored.
Even then, the work endures and there is strength in it,
these invisible imperfect craft
that go out in the night and return in the morning,
breathless and bleeding and victors
without kingdoms or castles.
About this poem.
We tend to dismiss the less flamboyant, even when they are essential to all that we are.
Oh, and about boats too. When I travel to Cape Cod, I love hanging around the fishing boats more than anything else.