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As I was doing my research I found quite a few poems inspired by Long Beach or Florencia (Wreck Bay). Sadly, I could only include excerpts from a few in the book, but I’ll try to point you towards more here from time to time. If you lived at Wreck Bay in the 1960s or ’70s, do you remember John Ingwersen? Several people I interviewed remembered “the American poet.” I did manage to track his son down and some of his poetry as well. More on John one day soon.

For now, however, this gem from Canadian poet, Anne Marriott from her book, The Circular Coast. This poem is from 1973. This book is long out of print, but you can find your own copy here or on other used book sites.

Florencia/Wreck Bay

(She was not the only ship
wrecked on this hard coast
this hard and lovely coast.) 

These came by land not sea
scars of their bulldozed shacks
still show faintly
gaps in the new growth
ghosts of limpet markings
on scraped stone
record almost erased now:
here they lived free.

My own jeans off
(the children shocked)
I wash in a warm rock pool
wash and splash and wish:
to have been young!

Yet even here
two warm together in a sleeping bag
felt the cold third
iced sting of the frozen knife
never saw the dawn
on the gentle trees

that had shaken in darkness
as a darker passed —
darker than depths of
the despairing winter sea,

I tell the children:
this place has two names
both are true.

— Anne Marriott, The Circular Coast


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