“Why not get some horses?”
Comes over the water,
From a 30-foot lobster boat
With 300 horses,
To my 20-foot canoe with
A one-man cedar engine
It’s a two-mile paddle to haul supplies
By rock-bound shore and gnarled spruce.
Osprey “float” above with sharp cries.
A startled heron croaks displeasure
Waiting for the tide to drop.
If lucky – there may be otter kits
Playing in the shallows
At the tide rips.
An eagle perches on a snag,
Loon laughter lilts over the bay,
A seal looks me over.
A motor would take half the time –
But, what with mounting it,
Feeding it, and keeping it in tune,
Would there really be a gain in time?
True – I could go when the wind is
Too strong to paddle
But that is a non-problem.
The racket, the stench, the poisons –
There is the problem.
Oh – I could still see (most of) the birds
But not hear them
And the otters – they’d be gone.
The paddle – lovely yellow cedar –
Carved on a beach in the San Juans,
Has served me well these thirty years.
While paddling the brain does delightful things,
Each moment a surprise – a treasure.
Motoring puts all that on hold,
Thieving those precious minutes –
My brain turned off: