OCEAN Writing Contest
OCEAN Photography Contest
OCEAN Magazine FALL 2008, Issue 20
Saugus Clams and Things East Saugus
The Wrecker's Daughter
R. F. Long
On Sethia's Birthday
If You Will Hold My Hand
Smoke in the Night
New World Navigators
John Thomas Clark
From The Journals of Constant Waterman
A glimpse into this issue . . .
The rich tapestry of East Saugus –– extending from an incalculable
point somewhere east of Cliftondale Square and from a similar line on
Bailey’s Hill –– runs off to the West Lynn line, and the border of Revere
wracked by salt and things sometimes brackish, and thence out to
the vast sea, the feeding and spawning Atlantic. Over the past
century the streets of this section of our town have been dotted by
clam shacks and shucking houses and lobster boat moorings and
whole families have been immersed in the businesses of clams and
worms and lobsters. They ranged over the streets named Ballard and
Bristow and Dudley and Seagirt and Dustin, with family names like
Hook, Daggett, Allen, Green, Chabra, Sullo, Sacco, Distolo, Nicolo,
Russo, Falasca, and Ciampa, to name but some of the memorable
And when required, Those Things East Saugus reached other places
with great impact, such as when in the early thirties of this just-past
century the Ipswich clam beds were smothered by mussels which
nearly decimated the clam crop, and in the early eighties the
Gloucester clam flats almost died off because of overfishing. Into both
of those sites were seeded clams from the Saugus marshes. A small
army of Saugus clam diggers and worm diggers, at the direction of
the State Fisheries Department, dug seed clams out of the Saugus
beds for those infertile spots on the North Shore. Those clam beds
were saved by the infusion of Saugus clams, whose beds are now
marked by perilous heavy metals content.
The marshes and flats of East Saugus have spawned at different times great enterprises for rugged individuals with the fortitude, strength, and perseverance to work those enterprises. Digging against earth and sea and time constraints is difficult. Thus it is that the people who worked here framed East Saugus, and the natural conditions and climates likewise framed its people.
The flats and marshes came rich in clams, and were there for the digging, as were the bait worms that live in part off clams, and the harboring was there at the river for a major lobster fleet . . .
Read more in this issue.
by Tom Sheehan
Shield me ocean with your ever present, song-like noises
comforting and serene even in full voice.
Shield me from the dry quiet of ever dark mammoth caves
running deep beneath the earth.
Sing to me in all your native tongues,
sing to me of life before I crawled onto the beach,
before my fins became grasping hands.
Tell me how it was when I could only swim,
tell me how I came to walk away,
walk away from your nurturing womb.
As you sing all the while a forever song of life in the sea,
sometimes in dulcet tones,
moving through my ocean of air
like long liquid waves,
sometimes in a voice, discordant
some forgotten part of me hears,
recalls and responds
and thus knows with gnostic sureness,
you were long, long ago
the aquaeous mother nest
from which I fledged.
by Robert Wykes
Lush vegetation. Tropical splendor. Spectacular vistas. Secret beaches. Tumbling, rumbling,
roaring waterfalls. Rugged coastlines and 4,000-foot cliffs soaring up from crystal clear
waters. Ever-changing liquid light and psychedelic clouds. Velvet green sari-clad
mountains. Red, iron-rich soil. The haunt of the endangered nene with their saucer-shaped
nests. The original home of Puff the Magic Dragon. The Garden Island. The aloha spirit.
Kauai is the oldest, the greenest, the most sacred, and the most remote of the major
Hawai’ian islands. And, it is also one of the most popular travel destinations in the world.
Kauai is blindingly beautiful. The mountains, the extraordinary double rainbows, the scent
of wild ginger and plumeria, the white sand beaches, the vistas that go on and on for
miles –– all of them seem to wrap the visitor up in one large colorful lei of paradise.
This lei is fragile. Nearly 75 percent of the extinctions in the United States have occurred in
Hawai’i, and nearly forty percent of the endangered species in the United States are
According to National Park Service documents, Hawai’i is the “leading state for both
extinctions and federally listed endangered species.” If the state of Hawai’i is often
considered “the extinction capital of the world” with its 317 endangered and threatened
species of flora and fauna, then the small outpost of Kauai with its 95 endangered and
threatened species must be the extinction isle.
Today on Kauai there are few “natural” areas left. Many of the trees, foliage, flowers,
insects, and birds are not indigenous. Many of them are invasive. This small island, just a
tiny spit of land, takes up a disproportionate amount of space on the Federal
Endangered Species List and the invasive species list . . .
Read more in this issue.
by Dawn Starin
Gracie paused by the door and ran her fingers over the sealskin on the wall.
Sarah said it belonged to their mother, the only thing they had left of her, and
every time Gracie passed it, it called for her touch. She pulled her shawl from
the hook and wrapped it around her shoulders, fastening it with a silver
brooch. Her love, Jarlaith had brought her the beautiful enamel inlaid jewelry
from his first trip to Constantinople. She lifted the latch on the kitchen door
and slipped out into the night, closing the door silently in her wake, careful
not to disturb the household.
The breeze tugged jealously at the shawl and the brooch, but Jarlaith’s love
held it firm. No wind spirit would harm her tonight. She felt his ship
approaching on the sea, heard the song of the ocean. The sea was rising,
and on nights like this nothing in the world could harm her. The thought
almost made her laugh, but she knew that a noise so close to the house,
even on a night like this, might reach her father’s keen ears and the last thing
she wanted was him on her tail.
Gracie made her way down to the town, where the ships danced alongside
the quay and the air came alive with the whistling of rigging and the jangling
of the spars. It made music, her music, a love song for her and her sailor.
Jarlaith waited for her, as he waited each time he put into port here, keeping
watch alone while his shipmates slept or drank the night away. Only one
night in port, but each single night seemed as precious to her as a lifetime.
On their long voyage south, Gracie’s island was a brief stop off, nothing more.
A chance to refresh stocks before heading off from the sight of land. And a
chance for Jarlaith and Gracie to meet . . .
Read more in this issue.
by R. F. Long