Boat Channel


Just another poem, this one in blank verse, for a change from the usual….

This bit of trapped Pacific, trammeled here
by silt and broken stone: to the white hulls
that inch and bob their way along the channel,
it’s no more than a gateway to the sea,
the limitless blue sea that breathes beyond
some heaped rocks and a flag. A liquid driveway,
a mere utility, made by merest hands

Those of us who tread the jetties here
to stare across its slow wind-tickled tide,
we see it differently: these placid waters
crinkling underneath an empty sky,
safe in their embrace of stone, feel like a home,
a repository of rare peace.

                                                 Listen to me:
I have sailed that channel in a boat,
bobbed and tilted in the southwest breeze
to reach the surge and heave of the broad sea
beyond the land’s last reach. I have loved this.
To balance wind and water with your hands,
ropes, rags, a slab of wood: it is a dance
with elemental forces, not to be scorned —
but it’s distracting….

                                       Stand with me right here,
shod feet on stone, in view of shore,
where white birds fly, and white boats mimic them.
Listen to the licking of the sea.
Imagine nothing: feel the breeze and be.

Not everything needs meaning or desire
to make it sacred.
Stand here on these stones:
this blue-roofed room is one of the last homes
of human-hearted peace. Imagine nothing:
feel the breeze and be.


Rick Risemberg