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Nahant: Poetry by the Sea



Conrad Squires and Bonnie BishopCONRAD SQUIRES        (1938 –     ) and BONNIE BISHOP        ( 1948 –     ) are married poets who live in a south-facing house on the hill of Little Nahant and look down toward Short Beach, Big Nahant and the Boston shipping channel, vistas conductive to poetry-writing.  Bonnie’s poems have appeared in English Journal, Diner, and The Larcom Review.  Before her recent retirement, she spent her entire teaching career at Full Circle, a Somerville MA alternative high school.   Conrad has published a chapbook of poems, Dancing with the Switchman (Johnstown, OH: Puddinghouse 2001) and his poetry has appeared in Yankee, The Beloit Poetry Review, and other journals and anthologies.  He is listed in Poets and Writers of America and recently completed a novel, The Man Without Limits.  He was a direct mail fund-raiser for thirty years, and is the author of Teach Yourself to Write Irresistible Fund-Raising Letters.

If you live in Nahant or visit regularly, you may have seen Shantih, a large brown dog, walking Conrad and/or Bonnie twice a day, rain, snow or sun, somewhere on Big or Little Nahant.  On those walks, Con and Bonnie sometimes discover the poetry inherent in the birds of Nahant, as Conrad’s “The Gulls of Nahant” and Bonnie’s “Surfacing” reveal.  Both Conrad and Bonnie have published collections of their poetry through Nahant's Every Other Thursday Press-- Ifka's Castle (2011) and Local Habitation (2009) respectively.

See and Hear Conrad Squires read his poem "The Gulls of Nahant"





Above this near-island of rock and sand
the air is held up by a large band of gulls
that fly high sometimes, near out of sight,

or tumble and dance, acrobats in gray-white,
then rise like a stairway up to the kingdom
where even a carrion eater is welcome.

Thank god for gulls and their heavenly prowl;
if it wasn’t for them we’d have all creation
pounding down on our deafened ears

and the small waves would bear us away
and the crabs, those red crows of the shallows
would take us apart with a merry clicking of claws.


See and Hear Bonnie Bishop read her poem "Surfacing"




The midwinter sun falls fast
as I, too, hasten
over the rocks at Bailey’s Head.

No one else around this workday
except nine red-breasted merganser
who startle out toward open water

as the dog and I trot
to the water line.
When we stand still,

they swim back to work
the weedy shoal, diving
for fish and tiny marine invertebrate.

Down they go, disappearing
like the minutes before sunset.
Sometimes all disappear, all but one,

a sentry who watches and waits.
By random turns, the others bob up,
mingle in loose, drifting pairs,

quartets, or solitaire.
I can see the white wing patch,
the slender orange bill,

the drops like transient sapphires
when they shake their shaggy crests
on surfacing.



courtesy: Bonnie Bishop and Conrad Squires