Lisa Berglund ~ Two Cape Cod Poems

Newcomb Hollow

By unspo­ken accord, at Newcomb Hollow
We always turn to the left
And head past the outliers
To where the last tide leaves the beach sand-swept.

For forty years, our eyes scanned the narrow
Lines of weed and driftwood
As we walked, heads bent,
One hand cupped over a palm-sized clam

To hold the egg cas­es, moon-snail collars,
Sand dol­lars, whelks, and urchins; we’d sift
Back at the blanket.
One astound­ing year I found a sea star.

When did I last find a sand dollar?
The beach is scoured smooth and bare. To quest
Today for skele­tons is futile.
We look ahead, at dunes, into the sea

Where, as we walk, an off­shore shad­ow follows,
Then rears with a breath-catch­ing lift
The fat black apos­tro­phe of a seal’s head–
As if the ocean raised a curi­ous eyebrow.



On the tide-smoothed vellum
strag­gles a pen tri­al of kelp.
Here is a seagull’s faint runic track
and here a dog has gal­loped a loop­ing cursive.
Across the stave traced
by the ranger’s truck
com­ing and going
the surf inscribes
its per­cus­sive part.


Lisa Berglund received her PhD from the University of Virginia. She is Professor and Chair of the English Department at Buffalo State College, where she teach­es eigh­teenth-cen­tu­ry lit­er­a­ture, the his­to­ry of the print­ed book, Shakespeare, and lex­i­cog­ra­phy. Lisa has served as Executive Director of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (2017–2021) and of the Dictionary Society of North America (2007–2013). Her fam­i­ly has vis­it­ed Wellfleet, Massachusetts annu­al­ly since 1968.