Poem: The Life Saving Station

The Life Saving Station

It is something out of a Wyeth painting,
the old life saving station at the end of the world,
a museum now, as if no one needed saving any longer.

Maybe they do not, at least not here.
Most who come here are tourists.
They walk the shoreline,
content to go no more than ankle deep,
content with the illusion of the sea
and being there, at the edges.

There are fewer fishermen in deep waters,
those who know the ocean intimately.
Today they have instruments that predate the old station;
instruments that warn them of coming weather,
and bring them in to shore before the worst of it.

And so the old station has become a museum,
a place to remember simpler, more dangerous times,
with oilskins hanging on the walls
and rubber boots on the floors below them.
Photos of rescues past line the wall
for tourists to “oooh” and “ahhhh” over
as if no one needed rescuing today,
a beautiful lie, history. ignored at our own peril.

About this poem

History, personal or political, is more important than we give it credit for.

We all need saving now and then.

The picture was taken at the end of the world in Cape Cod. It really is an old life saving station, and today, a museum.


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