Forgotten Sloop Dreams

Down the deer path, thick with scat,
to every hard to find
creek bank in the world,
there’s a busted dinghy,
a forgotten sloop dream,
with a mudstuck sprung transom,
a sky beckoning bow,
tied to a cattail or some other
tenuous stem.

Down the deer path, thick with scat,
the willows, reefed in a gale,
cringe in the rising crest,
and a busted dinghy
lifts on a swell and bellows
against the cleat to slide clean
to the sea, to a young boy’s
landlocked dream of spray,
hard weathers and anywhere
but here night-watches.

All the colors of elsewhere,
the splendid regatta of the never-seen,
the gleaming spice and bent strange
tongues of the could have been – mold,
dip and sigh, lift and strain,
again and again,
upon a cleat,
upon a rope,
upon a cattail
or some other

Image: Marie Ginette Amirault on Unsplash

re-posted on

20 Thoughts

  1. Lovely writing Devon, these are lost ports of departure…once hopeful dreams left abandoned at the end of now derelict pathways. I wrote “At Camden Lock” last night and today used a strikingly similar image to convey where my mind was when I imagined it. It seems we may have been surfing the same astral plane.

    1. Looks like it, because I thought the same when reading “At Camden Lock”. This stopped moment, where the dream ends and reality intervenes.

      As a child, while scrambling through the woods, I came across the dinghy half sunk on the Little Patuxent River. I have been haunted by it ever since.


  2. Devon, so much of what we dream of are broken promises, denied us early on in our childhood. And yet, we continue to dream, as if to reach one more time to catch a glimpse of what might have been. An exceptional piece!

    1. Thank you, Lance.

      Oftentimes, we come across things, moments, that are on pause, small yet huge in import. It could be the dinghy in this poem, or a single shoe in the road, or a tuft of hair among feathers. In each of those things, there was a life, or lives, that left a bit of itself, that moment, that broken promise, that particular dream denied, for others to find and wonder. And as you say, we continue to dream, “as if to reach one more time to catch a glimpse of what might have been.”


      1. You’re very welcome, Devon. This is an exacting summation of what has shaped our lives and will continue to do so. Each part of our past is tantamount to our present and to our future.

  3. So nicely done, Devon. It’s what I see when I look at the Siren sitting in the field. It was a dream once upon a time and it may be resurrected one day.

  4. Wow. There have been a lot of dream-boats for this prompt, but nothing as goose-bumpy as this. It’s such a great image, and you’ve really made something powerful out of it. I guess a boat is the epitome of the dream of travel and adventure ( though I wonder how many of those boys who ran away to sea wondered if they’d made the right choice?), and a broken boat is the end of the dream. I always wonder if the owner intended to come back, or if they knew it was all over? I think boats feel more alive than other forms of transport – it’s that basic connection with water and air.

    1. “I always wonder if the owner intended to come back, or if they knew it was all over?” Yes, that is the question. I always feel a certain sadness when I come across the odd belonging left to rot.


  5. Fantastic wordsmithing, Devon. Very evocative. Powerful thoughts, turns of phrase and imagery from beginning to end.

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