Tag Archives: Scargo Lake

Nobscusset Burial Ground, Dennis MA

Nobscusset Burial Ground, Dennis MA


The path off the two-lane road is as quiet and straight as an unread sentence.
There are no accidental visits to this ground. You have to ask around

at the lakeside potter for directions, itself a place you have to ask
around to find, and even then you miss the entrance because it’s

nothing more than a shadow between high shrubs and a fence,
and you have to get out of your car and cross the street

to find it, grassy area surrounded by trees and houses yet secluded
just up a rise from the edge of Scargo Lake, whose waves are the soft

clap of a hand on a familiar shoulder. There are no markers of any kind
but everywhere offerings—nickels, beads, feathers woven into star shape,

a wreath of sticks hung atop one of the granite border stones, things made
by hands left at the foot of a tree or placed on a branch, and underneath

the skin of the earth the force of something still vibrating at blood
frequency. Almost four centuries since their sachem, their sagamore,

Mashatampaine, walked over this ground when everyone knew
death was larger than life but here you feel it, there are more

signs of it than there are letters in the spelling of his name, he’s
in the pulse of the pottery made on the other side of the small lake,

the vibration that shivers the calm water just before sunset viewed
from Scargo Tower, the twitch of the fox through the scrub oak

under the cover of dusk and wild blueberry. For a person used
to tombstones and crypts there is something naked here in the pine

needles and piles of coins and cigarettes and offerings. It’s the living
speaking to the living, and the dead are listening, they listen.


Scargo Tower, Looking West


Scargo Tower, Looking West


On the east coast by the bay at the top
of a hill overlooking a lake filled they say

when a great whale thrown by a winter storm
crashed there or filled they say by the tears

of a young woman from the Scargo tribe
when it was clear her life would not be the same

and over the belt of a waist-high stone wall at the top
of a tower there though you are looking west

with me the width of a continent is a thread across
the horizon and above it the sun lowers itself

ablaze on the bay before it and again on the lake
of tears or it is the resigned eye of the whale still

lying there its shape waiting for the tide to bring it
back I have seen the sun set over two bodies

of water the strip of land scrub oak and pine between them
wider than the continent beyond a hundred times

from here I have seen the riotous light lean against clouds
knowing my home was here above the crown

of the highest tree I’ve chatted with tourists taken pictures
for them stood here long after they have left

felt the wind rush in over the trees gathering stones
when it was clear my life would not be the same

and now I am coming back again to this stone place
where looking over endless land you see nothing

but water and sky and the wide scrim
of a welcoming light that does not remember me