Archives for posts with tag: sailing

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Ode to Hōkūleʻa 
by James Schwartz

She glides across the globe,
Over oceans, under stars:
The Hōkūleʻa: Star of Gladness,
Reminding us
Of nearly lost knowledge:
How to navigate as the ancestors,
With the wind and the waves,
I meet her in Hilo,
Joining the tourists,
To board her,
Marveling,
At her majesty,
& grinning at the cupboard,
Containing the coffee pot.

ILLUSTRATION: Hōkūleʻa (hokulea.com)

NOTE: Hōkūleʻ a  is a Polynesian double-hulled canoe. Launched on March 8, 1975 by the Polynesian Voyaging Society, she is best known for her 1976 Hawaiʻi to Tahiti voyage. The voyage’s primary goal was to explore the Asiatic origins of Polynesian and Hawaiian natives, showing that they traveled via purposeful trips through the Pacific, as opposed to passive drifting on currents or sailing from the Americas. A secondary goal was for the canoe and voyage to “serve as vehicles for the cultural revitalization of Hawaiians and other Polynesians.”

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This text from the Hokulea website provides context for my poem: “Over the next five years, we will plot a course for the future by circumnavigating the Pacific Ocean, covering 41,000 miles, 345 ports, 46 countries and archipelagoes, 100 indigenous territories, starting first in our home islands of Hawaii. Our goal is to inspire, educate and elevate a new generation of 10 million navigators by the end of the voyage in 2026. These young people can lead the many different kinds of bold voyages our Earth needs now, with the mindset, preparation, and courage to face the coming storms, and the resilience to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world.”

PHOTO: Hōkūleʻa (January 22, 2009).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: James Schwartz is a poet, writer, slam performer, and author of The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America and Punatic.

PHOTO: The author stands before the Hōkūleʻa in Hilo, Hawaii.

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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.

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