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Wisps of sea smoke curl around the little fishing boats in the harbor.

Waves lap at the Brancusi-shouldered rocks bordering the islet.

Last light belongs to Vermeer; sundown is failing.

The fishermen are in retreat, self-exiled in their decrepit cottages.

Crab traps lie scrambled in desolate hither and thither.

The scent of dead herring bait lingers by the pier.

A bell buoy makes the solitude resound;

its echoes are reciprocated by the foamy castanets of the surf.

Chill autumn breezes wag an admonitory finger.

Gulls wing their way aimlessly in the emptiness.

For the nonce, the harbor belongs to itself again,

unmolested by man's wantonness.

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Paul Mann

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