I Am A Boat – republished..


“FINE LINE” detail, 1999, m/m
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I am a boat.

Not a Chinese junque. – (my blood is too foreign though I do wish it wasn’t).

Well.. perhaps a gleaming and slippery, “Have a martini”, 40′ ode to speed? – (I’d lose the key..).

Maybe that great outboard motorboat we used up at the lake to go bass fishing as the dawn steam rose and we, wee ones still with sleep in our eyes? – (Oh, I did love the control!)

What about a catamaran? Sliding and cutting so deftly through..intent on getting ‘there’ FAST!.. The constant thrill of capsizing the thing?- (Nope).

I could be a giant cargo ship with all the ballast I’d ever need in rough seas.. (No beauty in all that safety and way too much metal. I’m not that fond of metal, anyway).

A folded paper boat adrift on an even pond? – (Not enough substance or staying power).

I will be a canoe.

My own ship carved of a tree so I will remember dry land should I turn toward forgetting.

It will hold one.

Two or three if I so choose.

My family and friends will have helped me carve the thing.

We will have sung songs and toasted it’s doneness before they hand me two paddles and I pause to bow (to them and it) before I step in alone.

I will push off the beach and settle my frame into the curve of the tended wood.

I will not look back.

I am not sad. I will cut the glassy sheen of the lake

And lean into my direction.

I pull the water to me

And let it empty behind.

Pull.

Empty.

Pull.

Empty.

The rhythm lifts me.

And the work is not.

I am free.

Destination is uninteresting.

I just stay with the impossible beauty.

In raw weather

I huddle in the rain and wind

Sometimes, just yielding to the whim of the lake

Because it is bigger than me.

In the morning with wet and straggly hair

I peek outside my parka.

The way seems clear

Though I do not know where I am.

A loon sets me straight

And my paddle meets the waters.

I sing.
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-C. Aten 2011

comments

2 Responses to “I Am A Boat – republished..”

  1. gerry harty on September 15th, 2012

    so beautiful Cathy…a canoe is a mighty fine boat..so simple like we should be but our journey keeps getting complicated by things and people outside of us…this wonderful writing says it all about your journey Cathy…please keep on singing…BRAVO….xoxo,Gerry

  2. Laura Hegfield on September 15th, 2012

    “I will be a canoe.

    My own ship carved of a tree so I will remember dry land should I turn toward forgetting.” oh, Cathy… there is something deeply touching about this line for me…the whole poem is exquisite.

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