Poem: Ducking the Boom

Ducking the Boom

Up. Coffee. Another cup.
It is not a morning for poetry.
It is a morning of winds shifting
from one direction to the next
and you left wondering, if
once the day is done,
you will have made progress,
anywhere,
or remain exactly where you are.

You are grateful you learned to sail young,
learned to tack across the wind
traveling obliquely towards
a crisis cross of progress rather than the direct path,
more time taken to get from point A to point B,
more waves crossed, more muscles used
in the extra hours, a longer journey,
often feeling pointless with random turns
and cutbacks, ducking the boom as it creaks around
for the next tack, grateful to know
sometimes, often, that fighting the wind
is a losing proposition.

About this poem.

This started out as an essay because I was not feeling poetic this morning. At all. But discipline kicked in and I chiseled away at it, whittled away, and what was left was this.

For those of you who are not sailors, the boom is the long pole that hangs on the bottom of a sail to keep it extended. Every time you change direction in a sailboat, it swings from one side of the boat to the other, and you’d better duck – or you end up in the water with a bad headache!

I learned so many life lessons sailing, so even though I have not sailed for years, the theme shows up again and again.

The picture was taken in The Netherlands.

Tom

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