Lyric Poet
St Johns

"Songs of the St. Johns" by Brent Futo

Copyright Brent Futo 1980-2001.

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"A Traveler's Reflection on Fort George Island"


Your moist long grasses glisten,
Not a single blade asway,
Your tall and balmy palms are calm,
For I own you on this day.

Your sweetest scents of salt and pine,
They linger and float not away,
Divine cologne that's mine alone,
I own you on this day.

Your children chirp and howl and moan,
They pause along their way,
Their harmony is sung for me,
For I own you on this day.

Your ghosts rise up in protest,
But have no words to say,
Indeed alive, they shall survive,
But I own you on this day.

The surging tide tries to reclaim
Your halo with its waves,
But on this sand I'll stoutly stand,
For I own you on this day.

Now as I stand a reprimand
Quite softly filters down,
These golden rays diffuse in haze,
My eyes in darkness drown.

That sweet, sweet scent is somewhere sent
Far, far away from here,
Lost wondrous sounds no more abound,
Their music fills another's ear.

And ah that spirit, I can hear it,
Telling tales I won't forget,
While filmy fingers, foam that lingers,
Strangle feet so weak and wet.

Thank God for all the subtle ways
He teaches us to live each day,
And for this pilgrim traveler's stay,
On this wild isle this blessed day.

"The Marriage of Molly McGruder"

Molly McGruder

On a day when the river was ninety years younger,
Sailed a lad from Palatka, a handsome young suitor.
From upriver past Green Cove, as a great crowd had gathered,
He had come for the hand of Miss Molly McGruder.

She wore white lace and satin, and pinned in her chignon
Were the sweet-scented blossoms of southern magnolia.
Tall and proudly he kissed her as he gave her this promise,
"Molly Sweet, Molly Mine, I shall never once leave ya!"

Then at round about midnight, they ceased celebrating
To return south downriver, where new life awaited.
Nor the sloop, nor the moonlight, nor the still glassy waters
Could fortell what befell on that night so ill-fated!

Some say barge, some say timber, they struck around Black Creek,
Catapulting poor Molly head-over the port side.
On the deck, bloody-dazed, lay her sole wounded saviour,
When the first light of day brought a fisherman broadside.

It is said this poor fellow in fact lived to be forty,
Though he never once moved from his bedridden haven.
Not a sound nor a word would he speak, but this always,
"Don't ya fret Molly Dear, for I'm commin' to save ya!"

And alas, precious Molly was never recovered,
Even though many seamen searched long, aching hours.
Not a veil, nor a dress, was there ever discovered--
Just two sweet floating blooms of her magnolia flowers.

And it's said near the river, by folks along Black Creek,
To this day, when magnolia scents drift in the moonlight,
And the tide turns to glass; there appears a reflection--
Satin-white, looking up, from the waters at midnight.

Many say it's just legend, but the sailors who've wooed her
Know she waits for the groom, of Miss Molly McGruder.

Molly's Ghost

"River Rat Bards"

Whitey's Patrons

Down around Doctor's Inlet,
Near the public boat ramp,
There's a well-weathered outpost
Known as Whitey's Fish Camp.

Some come for the catfish,
Some come for the beer.
But most simply come for
The non-atmosphere.

Thus assemble the patrons,
Local river-rat bards,
To swap salty swamp stories
As old baseball cards.

"I remember the time,"
Starts one old wisened face,
Sipping slow a cold glass mug,
As he loses his place.

"I remember that too,"
Butts in Billy Belue!
"But was me who had hooked 'em--
Not Shorty or you!"

"That ain't nothin' compared
To the one I near' snagged
Near the jetties at high tide,"
Yet another man brags.

So it goes in the evenings,
Stretching into the night,
As the in-towners eavesdrop,
Placing bets on who's right.

In the midst of this ruckus,
You can hear a pin drop,
When up jumps an old sailor
All the shrimpers call "Pop".

"Listen mates, get this straight--
I've lost half my chest!"
(It is well-known at Whitey's
That a shark has the rest!)

"Take a look at what happens
When ya drift out too far!"
Every eye widens wildly
As he flashes his scar.

So indeed goes the legend
All the locals love best.
Yet a few casual listeners
Are a bit less impressed--

Namely bullfrogs and crickets
(They've all heard it before)
And the cardiac surgeon
Who supresses a roar.

Pop's Scar

"4627 Ocean Street"

4627 Ocean Street

It's not out of order
In this Village of Mayport
For the sound of reunions to inhabit halls.
When the seamen were grounded,
Certain ladies well-rounded
Were once known to make "Welcome home sailor" house calls!

It's not out of order
In this Ocean Street mansion
For petite little patters from lady-like pumps
To resound on the hardwood,
With the boots of the no-good,
Who patrol the main hall with their creak-clopping clumps.

It's not out of order,
If such noises be elsewhere,
But it's frightfully odd at this great mansion-dive,
For the lovers and dancers,
And lurid romancers,
Who abide in this house are no longer alive!

It's not out of order,
On a Halloween weekend,
To find hordes of ghost hunters haunting Captain King's beat.
I suspect this invasion doesn't frighten or phase him--
He'll just float 'cross the street for some spirits and eats!

Copyright Brent Futo 1980-2001.