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Nahant: Poetry by the Sea



Tom SheehanTHOMAS F. SHEEHAN         (1928 –      ) is the consummate local poet. Beginning with The Saugus Book (Francestown NH: Golden Quill Press 1984), and continuing with poems about, among other locations, Lynn Woods and Nahant, Sheehan has consistently written poetry about places in Essex County.  He is a lifelong Saugus resident, a graduate of Boston College, and served as a war correspondent during the Korean War. Since his retirement in 1990, he has devoted himself to his writing, winning prizes for his short fiction and nonfiction and garnering eighteen Pushcart Prize nominations.  He has co-edited A Gathering of Memories: Saugus 1900 – 2000 and its sequel Time and the River.  Recently, he has published a mystery novel, Death For the Phantom Receiver and a memoir, A Collection of Friends. His latest book of poems is This Rare Earth and Other Flights (Falbrook CA: Lit Pot Press 2003).  For years, Tom Sheehan has used the internet to effectively attract new readers to his work. To see, go to, www.press53.com.

In his poems about Nahant, Tom Sheehan shows how his sensitivity to nature is stimulated by being in Nahant.  In “The Stone Menagerie,” he brings oceanside boulders to life, and in “Transworld Flight,” a gull’s flight is likened to a lover’s.

See and Hear Tom Sheehan read his poem "The Stone Menagerie"





(for Polly Bradley of Nahant)


What is inordinate
are the hippopotami of rocks
at Nahant,
unblinking, refusing
to mourn themselves;
a half-displaced
surge out of sand as if
they’ve lost their breath
in that terrible
underworld of salt
and constant push.
Their shoulders
beam as smooth as agates
from the iodized wash,
gray pavilions
of armor plate massive
in titillating breezes.
Some are remote,
the unknown at reunions
holding quiet places,
waiting for recognition
in a place in the pool,
a niche in the sun.
Only the sun
enters these huge hearts
and moves them,
only the sun
stirs the core where
memory has upheaval.
But in moonlight,
as the cold year ends down
and sand leaps to lace
as intricate
as six-point stitching,
the broad backsides
become mirrors
and a handful of earthquake
glows at rest.



from: Nahant Voices  (Nahant, MA: Nahant Arts Association / Friends of the Nahant Public Library) 1984.
courtesy: Thomas F. Sheehan