In the Wake of Barnegat Bay


Clamming on the Barnegat Bay

Marsh grass swaying to summer’s breeze music,

Wafting smell of sulfur…cattail decay permeates the air,

Skeleton legged egrets skate over muck and mire,

Silently stalking, without trace or print,

Fisher of frog and killie and eel satiate the craw,

Atypical beauties gliding amongst driftwood and jellyfish.

Gulls chatter wakes the quiet of the rustling reeds,

Circling, cawing in haphazard patterns above the sea,

Groupies to fish laden boats anxious for port,

Unafraid…swooping to touch the hand that feeds,

Scraps of innards, heads, tails treats for the monochrome crew,

Relentless in their acrobatic aerial pursuit.

Sullen skies harvest chilly rains, whipping winds churn the bay to froth,

Whitecaps endlessly roll across turbulent waters,

Crashing to port and starboard in a symphony of wind-swept spray,

Biting hardened faces, skin soaked..raw with each pull of the rake and tong,

Muscle aches, such minute reward, so honorable the sacrifice,

For bushels of clams…the elusive cherry stone.

Brutality of summer’s heat nor winter’s cold deters,

Boats of wood, chipping and weathered, flat-bottom or “v”,

Designs dreamt in the mind of another century,

Purpose built, purpose born, rugged men, bred for the rigors,

Calloused, barnacle laden, weaned from the land, cast to the sea

Baymen one and all, men to their briny cores.

Bay of cedar and Atlantic salt, treacherous inlet throat,

Darkened by sources of origins mixed,

Nectar of life to fish and fowl, baymen and boater, lovers of marine,

Beauty whilst beast when stoked by storm,

Life giving…treacherous for the ignorant and uninitiated,

Wondrous, mysterious…Barnegat Bay.

~~ D. R. DiFrancesco ~~

* I grew up along the Barnegat Bay, in New Jersey and worked as a commercial clammer for a number of years.  This type of work is not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but it certainly was honest work and taught me the value of persistence.  This is an absolutely beautiful area to live in and now that I live in the desert, I realize how much I love and miss the bay and ocean.

Fisherman’s Welcome

Feather floating noiseless to the sand far below,

To rest on dunes erupting in granulated waves.


Their spartan populous withdrawn by storm and tide,

Only to reappear like immigrants in distant lands.


Screeching cries of gulls flock shatter silence,

Angels tipped in black searching for the days next meal.


Insatiable appetite wills winged soldiers onward,

Scavenging for fish or for crab or for worm.


Fisherman’s friends are the dunes and the gulls,

A beacon to the nearness of home.


The boat is a shepherd towing gulls in it’s wake,

Swooping low to put eyes on the catch.


Port is in sight, but this does not deter,

Showing neither fear of man or of sea.


A nod of the head and a knowing smile shared,

Eases pain from their back breaking chores.


Loved ones await braving inclement weather,

To welcome the unsung with open arms.


The next home-bound crews will be greeted in like,

With the dunes and the gulls as their mates.


This is how it must be and how it always has been,

For granted these men do not take.

~~ D. R. DiFrancesco ~~

Mistress of the Sea

Barnegat Lighthouse - New Jersey - USA

Barnegat Lighthouse – New Jersey – USA

An elegant lady stands a silent watch

Never taking rest or wavering in her duties

Decades of battering by nor’easter, ice and tropical gale are for naught

She may be worn and tired, but she remains strong in her resolve

Wind swept torrents are no match for her refinement

An A-line of red and white graces her elegant stony figure

Utilitarian in dress and form make her no less lovely

Many a man has looked upon her with starstruck affection

Standing tall, her crown highlights her magnificence

With eyes crystal clear and bright, she was born to see the unseen

Beholden to her unwavering radiance are those forever in her debt

She has comforted countless souls lost in nights hollow embrace

Surely treachery amongst the shoals would spell certain doom

Taking their hands, she leads them to certain safety

Welcoming ports embrace them by her blessing

Returning them back to family and loved ones unscathed

~~ D. R. DiFrancesco ~~

The Gift of Simplicity

By D. R. DiFrancesco

The suns glare blinding in it sheer radiance,

Ricocheting off the snow white froth as it lays claim to another piece of shore,

Drawn back to it’s primordial beginnings,

Only to reemerge in it’s own time in some distant land.


The song of the gulls,

Circling and floating in anticipation of their next meal,

A beautiful natural thing to behold,

Lives boiled down to simplicity.


The snap of the blue claw crab,

Rouses me from my trance,

Unafraid, claws raised in defense of his little piece of turf,

Only to surrender it to return to the sea.


Could it be that there are lessons to be learned,

Wisdom in nature so often ignored,

Giving prominence to our petty and corrupt selves,

Hollowed out by our material love.


As high tide comes rushing in,

New shore from distant lands makes this beach it’s home,

I am beckoned to take leave,

Walking away with a gift greater than I dared ask for.