Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Small Boats

I wrote this poem for my wife after a stormy kayak paddle off the rocky coast of Gloucester, MA, last fall. The shape of the poem represents the repeating but not identical movement of the swell as it passes under us.

(to Tammy)

We sit in small boats,

slim and slip-stream shapes, we

rise and fall, at rest at last while
the great, grey seas rush past, surging on, urged
by the anxious rain to
throw themselves in ecstasy or pain upon
grey granite. Its journey from the
eastern ocean done, each dies at last and
with its dying motion will crash against
the granite land, breaking off
one particle of sand.

We sit in small boats,
paddles poised then dipping
down we sit silent in the endless dance.
Before us lies receding the vast, hard land, grey
with rain, a broken coast of rock and sand.
Faint against the shout of dying waves,
thin through the fretful, scratching rain we hear
the people scurry out, heads bowed into the eastern
storm. Each rushes from his nest to find
another just as warm.

We sit in small boats,
pushed eastwards out beyond
the edge of rock and sand by dying waves,
reflecting seawards from the land like the pressure from
a giant hand. Though cold seas and eastern storm
thrust us towards another shore, we do not seek today
the edge from which some day we'll turn no more as now
we turn, bows slicing through the lace of dead wave
foam and racing ride the front of
anxious rain towards home.


  1. Wow! Amazing poem! I love the word choice and imagery. I wouldn't change a thing! Perfection!

  2. Thanks, Deb. But now I am nervous. Perfection angers the gods. Still, I am honored by your comment!

  3. Don't be nervous.... Perfection, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder. I wouldn't change a thing here, but you, or others, may think differently! Let me know if there is a particular part in this poem you are unhappy with and I'd be glad to look again through that lense and offer suggestions.