Clammers in Machiasport
Clammers in Machiasport

Use’ta

Hi there…How do you do?
I’m Derek Purlington.
I’m from Connecticut…
bought the lot beyond the cove.

        Ayuh, I know it—use’ta hunt there.

My big house is all built,
and the pier and beach house
will be done in a month.

        Use’ta walk down here to wade
        and sun with Sal, my wife,
        when we first were datin’.

Next summer we’ll widen the stream,
dredge around the pier.

        Ducks use’ta love feedin’
        in that crick. Use’ta clam
        those flats myself.
        Use’ta make good money, too.

Well, it certainly is a great spot!
We love the natural beauty,
the undisturbed quiet,
the feeling of peace and privacy.
What a shame so many folks
can’t appreciate
what this is worth!

        Use’ta be.


Philip C. Rose was an English teacher, photographer, and not-so-ancient mariner who spent his final years writing poetry from his cliff-perched cottage in Machiasport. At times terrifying, at times inscrutable, the sea was something he wrestled with and wrote about, but never railed against.


This piece is part of Voices from the Coast, a collection of writing, art, stories, and images offered in celebration of the Maine coast and launched in 2020, Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s 50th year.

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