My song is for the rowboat hauled out for winter,
listing in a sea of leaves. I love her lines,
the graceful beauty of her usefulness. But even more
I love the way she carries the music
of my father, his summertime humming
and the ringing of brass oarlocks dangling from his hand
as we walked the tangled path pungent with huckleberry
and sweet fern in August heat.
Our syncopated footsteps
on the wooden runway, the slight lift and sway of the float
beneath us, slap-slap of running line on water
bringing the dinghy in. My father’s slender fingers
worked the line, hand over hand, removing strands of eelgrass
and slimy mermaid’s hair, green, and matted.
his easy rowing, skilled feathering of oars, their rhythmic turning
in the locks, a two-part pulse of leather and wood against brass:
back and forward, back and forward. Between strokes,
from the oar tips a whispered staccato drips in tiny
running steps across the water’s surface.
Did we speak? Maybe a little. Mostly in silence we’d do
what was needed—unstop the sails and hoist them,
let go the mooring line, back the jib to bring the bow
around, and with sails filling slip gently out the harbor.
Strange–I remember always the setting out
rarely the homecoming, always a new beginning,
always another chance.
My father was an engineer who died before the advent of pocket calculators, personal computers, and smart phones. Often when he came home from work, his slide rule was still nestled in the pocket of his white button-down shirt. I am embarrassed and even a bit ashamed to admit that I have never used a […]Read More...
Most of the shells that wash up on a nearby beach are species familiar to me from my childhood: mussels in shades of blue like Chinese porcelain, clams of various species (surf, razor, Quahogs, among others), slipper shells (a.k.a. boat shells), lots of periwinkles, and the very occasional whole moon snail. This year I have […]Read More...
Today is my father’s birthday–his 102nd to be precise. My dad died a long time ago, thirty-eight years ago, when he was only 64 and I was only 25. A few years ago I wrote a blog post about him that I am linking to below. And I hope to add some more posts […]Read More...
The old poppy bloom– now a whirling dancer’s skirt twirled up in mid-spin.Read More...
The Snowy Afternoon That snowy afternoon a galaxy appeared on your dog’s black back while we talked. Stars took their places, planets, whole constellations gathered there, marvelous as a meteor shower, until with a few friendly, unthinking strokes I wiped the whole sky clean, and it began to fill again. It seemed the kind of […]Read More...