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“The Eight”

Posted on Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Walked with eight hardy teammates
Into faded red-paint boathouse
Each morning at sunrise;

Hardly awake as callused hands
Gripped the racing shell and
Coxswain barked Ready—Lift!

Four on each side they carried
Shell waist-high on gangplank to
Water’s edge—until Halt was coughed;

In unison they placed shell gently on
Water and each second oarsman
Retrieved two thirteen-foot oars,

While mates held shell
Bobbing alongside dock
Eight oars secured in locks;

Then coxswain boomed Ready!
Each stretched foot onto
Slide within—listening again,

Push off! – drifting onto
A creek leading to sound,
Thence bay—miles distant;

In all seasons of year—on flat water
As when the sea was fractious,
At first light—fog—and brilliant sun;

They rowed in cadence set by
Coxswain who was there to berate—
Cajole—demand —and yes encourage;

Such is life and if one still doubts,
Glance on those gnarled hands
Which still race this soul along.

Categorized as Poetry

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