at Miss Rita's house, a poem about Monhegan


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Those who follow my work, know I have a special love for Maine. I have painted many summers on Monhegan Island which is 13 miles out to sea. It is a whole different world. One summer, I stayed at Miss Rita’s house.

Miss Rita is one of the oldest residents, born and raised, as they say. It is a wonderful spot in a wonderful place. Her house sits on the gravel road just up from the ferry, just across from the Island Inn.

 I couldn't help but think of her and her life while I stayed there in her house.  Monhegan is a place both isolated and complete.  There is very little there and everything you need.  It is easy to be happy on that piece of earth.

Thank you to Miss Rita for sharing with me.  I had the time of my life and wish you all good things and many years more.



Miss Rita’s House on Monhegan. Deborah Cavenaugh

At Miss Rita’s house, cotton batiste aprons hang in kitchen windows, 

bleached white, starched crisp and stitched by hand,

they find their second life and new stories to tell of kitchens now and then on Monhegan.

At Miss Rita’s house, watercolor paints spill across kitchen cabinets.

Colors in every hue wait for my hands

to create a little line and tell a little story of the peace and beauty that is Monhegan.

At Miss Rita’s house, Bear, the cat, sounds at the kitchen door.

Soft grey and blazing white, he looks for a way in, and finding my open door,

his story’s in mine now of the home away from home that is Monhegan

At Miss Rita’s house, memories surround.

I think of her in this kitchen ninety years and more,

hands moving in the rhythm of a chop and stir.

She kept her home fires burning in her life that is Monhegan.

At Miss Rita’s house, the sea rocks close.

Whales swim out the window.

Way out on this rock, she’s made a daily life for ninety years and more.

I, pilgrim, come for salvation and the hope of renewal that is Monhegan