POETRY

New Agrarians

Nantucket memories

Amy Jasek
2 min readSep 20, 2023

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35mm Film Photo by author

When they brought sheep to the island
they intended them to stay put since
the sheep aren’t swimmers.
Thirty miles out to sea, you’d think,
would be a decent buffer zone.

Where are they now?

Do their descendants still graze in secret
pockets among the dunes?

Do they gaze in mute wonder at
the new flock that walks on two legs
arriving in droves by boats
day on day
heads above water, reveling and strolling
shopping and supping
decked out in local uniforms

Do they watch
astounded
as a new breed manages to leave
at will, without having to swim a single stroke

My teen is an avid amateur historian, and she’s spent enough time on Nantucket to be able to be a tour guide. She told me, when I visited during the summer, about people bringing sheep to the island.

This is one of the poems I wrote when I was there, neck deep in a place that’s steeped in the past and a playground for the present. It’s an interesting combination of historical wonderland, tourist destination, idyllic retreat, and summer frolicking ground for the Hamptons-type set. I felt equal parts totally out of place (since I own zero articles of Lilly Pulitzer clothing and my pockets aren’t deep enough for even one night in a hotel) and right in line (as a tourist).

Thank you, readers!

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