Benbow Island, Massachusetts, 1959
One mile long in rough waters free;
Three miles out from Manchester-by-the-Sea,
Its lighthouse warns container ships
Of shoals and reefs during coastal trips.
Benbow Island, since the days of sail,
Has protected clipper, and brigantine, and whale.
A guardian of shipping, out from the mainland
The Light’s still there on windswept, rocky strand.
I managed the store in ’59.Off-duty, store closed, liberty was mine.
Grace and I held hands late at night,
Trekking the bluffs under bright starlight.
In its arc through the heavens, with each passing hour
The moon bathed more brightly each sparkling surf shower.
Running to a secluded promontory, we’d race
To our well-concealed hideaway— our hidden, secret place.
From Spain, massive swells battered our narrow block.
It split the waves and parted the shock,
Forming huge white-capped bow waves racing toward lee.
We were entranced by the restless, silvery sea.
Awed by this scene, so radiant and bright,
We spoke not, astounded by this privileged sight.
I leaned back on granite for a moment in recline.
Then, with fingers so delicate, she nudged me supine.
Then into my vision came her coppery hair
Coursing gently past shoulders so smooth, and now bare.
She came slowly closer; her nostrils flared gently.
Her eyes, bright blue lasers, engaged mine intently.
My whispering lips caressed her perfect face.
Behind her left ear, I found a sensual space.
Her breathing quickened, she smiled, and sighed;
As the tempestuous ocean intensified.
On my body she lay, stretched out, taut and warm,
Covering me, comforting me, a soft, slender form.
Though my bed of hard granite pressed up from below.
The magic of Grace was all I could know.
In a symphony of night sky and sea and Grace I was lost,
As unsettled breakers hissed, crashed and tossed.
My hands caressed curves so impossibly smooth;
She showed me her way, her light, and her truth.
As a feather would glide the tip of my finger
Over exquisite smoothness, it paused to linger
On cheek, neck, spine, and hips,
While our souls were united by the touch of our lips.
Her limbs extended, her eyelids closed tightly,
Her heartbeat quickened, her lips parted slightly.
Waves of emotion rolled in with the sea. . .
Oh h h . . . she whispered breathlessly.
Thrashing and crashing, the sea loudly cried,
Slamming fifty-foot geysers up through crevices wide.
We blazed in white heat to an infinity of rapture—
Freedom, euphoria, and elation we’d capture.
Our music of hearts, minds, and bodies well blendedWith the music of nature, and too quickly ended.
Through our passion, and joy, and intense emotion
The old Benbow light watched over all on the ocean.
We confronted rough waters, felt edgy, yet secure.
Our memory of tonight would forever endure.
Grace, a 38-year-old professor’s wife
Preferred island days in her summer life.
Her spouse lived in Medford throughout the week;
On weekends only, Benbow he’d seek.
I, an 18-year-old Northeastern youth
Was naïve but idealistic, and in search of truth.
In winter her letters urged clandestine meetings.
But guilt consumed me– I’d contributed to cheatings.
Separately we recalled our island nights of magic.
Had we met again, consequences would have been tragic.
Our summers, like seas, had rolled in, passions merging.
Our lives now rolled out; our destinies diverging.
Will Walsh ©2017