Archives for posts with tag: boating

Winslow_Homer_-_Canoe_in_Rapids_(1897)
How to Paddle Upstream
by Ken Gierke

Consumed with your own thoughts,
always going it alone because
that’s the silence that comforts you,
there’s no easy way to get back
if you start paddling downstream.

So pull yourself along the bank.
The lee side, of course.
Why start now with the risks?
Stroke left, then right, head-on
into the current, meeting snags,
obstructions, knowing you can
always turn back to the beginning
by drifting along the easy course
you’ve followed all along.

Or face those challenges, solve
the problems you encounter.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll learn
something about life along the way,
learn to set your own course
once you rejoin the flow.

PAINTING: Canoe in Rapids by Winslow Homer (1897).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I have an affinity to water, so it often appears in my poetry. A slight breeze will bring to mind an image of ripples on the water. A strong wind will remind me of the waves that once washed over my kayak. The glassy surface of a lake will remind me of a moment of serenity, inducing memories that can shape the words for something totally unrelated. Feeling the roar of a thundering waterfall pounding through my chest will remind me of a love I hold and shape the words to express it in a poem. It comes down to the senses and the cues they provide. My words just seem to form around them.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ken Gierke started writing poetry in his forties, but found new focus when he retired. It also gave him new perspectives, which come out in his poetry, primarily in free verse and haiku. He has been published at Silver Birch Press, Vita Brevis, The Ekphrastic Review, Amethyst Review, Eunoia Review, and his poem “Unwound”  was included in Pain & Renewal: A Poetry Anthology (Vita Brevis Press). His work can be found at rivrvlogr.wordpress.com.

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Today, on my desk, I found a beautiful Canadian dime (like the one on the right — only mine was dated 2009). It probably fell out of my wallet sometime during the past week and I didn’t notice it until I started to dust (a never-ending job in L.A. — the dustiest place I’ve ever seen!).

And if L.A. is the dustiest place I’ve ever seen, I’ll use some superlatives when describing the Canadian dime — the shiniest, silveriest, most gorgeous work-of-art coin I’ve ever seen. On Wikipedia, I learned that the ship on the Canadian dime is called a Bluenose (“a fishing and racing schooner from Nova Scotia built in 1921…”). Wikipedia stated that the coin is “magnetic…[because] it has a high steel content.” (I couldn’t find a magnet to try it out.)

Kudos to coin designer Emanuel Hahn for his beautiful creation (FYI, Queen Elizabeth II is on the other side — she looks good, too).

There was something magical about the Canadian dime and its beautiful sailing ship appearing on my desk — and the discovery made me think of one of my favorite Van Morrison tunes “Into the Mystic.” Here is the first stanza:

We were born before the wind

Also younger than the sun

Ere the bonnie boat was won 

As we sailed into the mystic

Hark, now hear the sailors cry

Smell the sea and feel the sky

Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic.

***

Listen to Van the Man sing “Into the Mystic” live here.