St. Mary’s, Star of the Sea, she shines
over the red rows of ole’ Fed Hill
calling home sailors who yearn to return
and those whom she knows never will.
Filled with candles of prayer and petition
in prone, pliant penance to Rome
and one candle glows red in a forgotten corner
for the girl who never came home.
The wild western winds whip the bay to a foam
when the first days of winter come calling.
Through the spray and the waves and the mariner’s graves,
the men will not go out to trawling
That restless feeling was amongst us
the quiver that runs through the flock
as we waited for the first one to turn and set wingward,
counting down an invisible clock.
She was a Fells Point Princess, her long
blonde hair came tumbling down –
I remember her sitting on my fender drinking Pabst
on hot nights back in Hollert’n.
But her eyes took gaze ever skyward
as ’89 closed, gray and forlorn
when some bond that bound all of us dissolved in a gasp
and like birds from the boughs, we were gone
Some of us went to lives that we wanted,
some of us cut deals that we lived to regret.
Some of us hunched of over lines writ on paper
and vowed to our hearts we would never forget
the fire we imagine had burned in those candles
we lit in the bays of the church of our youth
which we cradled, tho flick’ring, we clutched so close to us
and sheltered from whatever wind was the truth.
And she went and she never came back to the city –
it’s like some oath that she held within
St Mary’s stood proud for the years she was absent
and the red rows filled up as new money came in.
And she never fails to be mentioned,
with some passing remark or wisecrack,
but the truth is that once gone, you’re all gone.
This poem originally appeared on my MySpace blog, Full Mental Jacket, on 9/14/2006