When I was a very young boy, my mother used to belong to a rowing club, a perk provided by her company to help employees stay fit. I liked sitting in the practice module attached to the main dock, sliding back and forth on the rollers of the tiny seat, my oars in the water, pretending I was in one of the shells out on the river with the adults. There is a magic in the shimmering water, a power in the feel of the oars, an exaltation in the gliding of the streamlined varnished hull past the poplars on the banks of the river. This poem brings back many of those feelings. I hope it says something to you. Be well.
ON THE WATER
The wind makes a web on the water.
The oars make a song.
The green makes and solves a mystery.
The city sleeps.
She practices a start –
half slide, half, three-quarters, full, full.
She pulls long into the morning,
faces where she was.
The water holds its secrets. The blades slip in and out.
Minutes pass like fish.
The hull skims across the lake.
The sun is in her hair.
Leaves emerge, soft as moths,
shiver in the wind.
Spring streams around her.
She is blooming.
The shell is a cradle.
This is birth.
Joannie K. Stangeland