Eye of the Beholder
Bubbles trailing behind me
rise to the surface,
telling those above where I was,
not where I am, as I drift along
the bottom of the river around me.
An inner peace at being an element of
the wonder that surrounds me balances
with a heightened awareness
of the perils that could arise.
Two kicks of my fins take me
around an approaching boulder,
and my eyes return to the rocky bottom.
This man’s treasure could be
a clay bottle lodged between rocks
or a dropped anchor, its rope trailing
in the current. My eyes are drawn
to another set of eyes seeming to peer
at me from the gravel. As I grab
a nearby boulder, the current swings
my body around, and I face upstream,
reaching to brush away the gravel
that hinders those peering eyes. A block
of wood appears, carved to serve shipboard
a century earlier. A time capsule, of sorts,
the deadeye is now my connection
to the past and a solid connection
to this experience. Those days behind me,
that simple block of wood
takes me back, every time I see it.
The prompt for NaPoWriMo.net Day 12 is to “write a poem about a dull thing that you own, and why (and how) you love it.”
From 1981 to 1998, I enjoyed drift diving in the Niagara River at depths of 10 to 40 feet, ever watchful for treasures that some people wouldn’t look at twice. My finds included clay pipes, many glass and clay bottles (some as old as the 1870s), small boat anchors, outboard motors, a 300 pound ship’s anchor, a flintlock musket (bent and rusted beyond repair), and the ship’s triple deadeye described in this poem.
The items in this photo are:
“glob top” beer bottle – E. Gentsch & Co., Buffalo, NY
clay spring water bottle – J. Friedrich, Frankfurt
stoneware Lemon Beer bottle – J. Chester
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