Rick Metzger shared this poem, which he found in the Pacific American Fisheries archive in Bellingham. There is no author attribution; please leave a comment if you know who authored it.
An old weathered cannery lay silent in death,
No signs of man’s shadow, no human breath.
Piling stubs poking out of the sand,
Caved in old retorts not looking so grand.
Jagged timbers are scattered to and fro,
As docks have collapsed over rocks below.
Where over the water bulwarks had been,
Steamships will never take cargo again.
Planks of a building that once housed a store,
Rotted and splintered lay next to the shore.
The dining hall and cook shack can’t be found,
Yet, bottles and debris litter the ground.
Tanks in the brush filled with algae and slime,
Once contained diesel and oil in their time.
Up from the beach where young evergreens grow,
Bunkhouses rest with roofs sagging low.
Through ghostly windows poke alder and pine,
Where Chinese cabins once formed a neat line.
Tarred pipe tubes lay haphazardly up the hills
Once flowing with power to run pelton wheels.
Warehouse remains are piles of bleached wood,
Next door to where the boiler room once stood.
Pipes, like stray noodles, strewn everywhere,
Rusting tin roofing, a tangled nightmare.
Time is past from the cannery’s story.
No one to witness its days of glory.
History is lost amid ruins of the scene,
As nature returns quiet and serene.
Once a harvester of all in the seas,
Now all that remains are old memories.