Turning this way and that, heading
down a stream with no one direction,
leaves streaming by at a leisurely pace,
I arrive at my favorite spot on the river
beneath a limestone ledge that extends
twelve feet from a small bluff.
Caving without going underground,
I sit and enjoy the breeze that flows
beneath the rock ceiling shading me
and become one more rock in the river,
invisible to the world out there in the sun
as I watch a heron fishing on the shore
and turtles sunning themselves on a log.
Timing my stay long just long enough
to head home, I raise my paddle and push
myself out of the shade, startling the heron.
Winging its way downstream, it passes over
the turtles, each one splashing into the water.
Paddling out into the sun, I turn upstream,
kayaking my way back home.
This is my response to Meet the bar, verbing, the prompt from Björn that asks us
to write a poem that uses verbs we have made from nouns. While I have not
created any new verbs, I have used at least twelve words
that already exist as both noun and verb: turning, heading, streaming, caving, shading, fishing, sunning, timing, winging, paddling, splashing, & kayaking (with a play on words in the title)
The water of the Moreau River,
as motionless as the leaves of the giant sycamore
half-submerged with roots projecting skyward,
victim of spring’s high waters but determined
to send nourishment to branches willing
those leaves to life, and as still as the air
on this hot August day as my kayak sits
under a stone ledge, too high for me to reach
when volume and current are stolen by the recent
lack of rain, still feels cool to the touch in this shade
I have found, shared by the bank swallows darting
to their nests and back into the sunlight, no breeze
needed for their aerial antics as they skim the water
for a drink, then rocket up, only to turn abruptly
to feed in flights that would make any bat proud,
all of this reflected in that still water of the Moreau.
Paddle paused, the kayak continues
drifting upstream, the mild current
offering little resistance. The wake
continues towards shore, calmer
in its own wake, until rippled
reflections become serene,
the kayak still, and the waves
only a memory.
Wild only in its freedom,
there is no white water here,
just a paddle caressing
its surface, a stillness
marred only by ripples
of trees dancing as they reach
from the bow of a kayak
to the shore that holds
steadfast their stately canopy.
This is my response to Quadrille #96: Wild Monday — the prompt from Kim at dVerse, which is to use the word wild in a 44-word poem that does not require meter or rhyme.
Image: Ellicott Creek, Amherst New York
(click image for larger view in new tab)
Floating on the river, tree-lined
stream, really, far shore just sixty feet away,
as bald eagle, far upstream, leaves its perch.
Each wing beat bringing it closer, regal profile
passing within fifty feet. Its graceful exit
over, held as a lasting impression.
The image, above, is the crop of a frame of video taken on the Moreau River, Missouri, October 4, 2019. My kayak was resting on an underwater ledge, immediately to the left of the angled rock (photo below). I was stable and partially shielded from view, but framing and focus at full zoom were hard to maintain, especially as I panned to track its approach and passing. The angled rock likely is broken from a nearby overhanging ledge that has numerous rocks lying in the water below. (These images also are cropped from frames of the same video.)
I try to make sure that I have agreeable weather when I go kayaking, but sometimes the weather has other ideas. Yesterday, the sky was completely overcast, but showers weren’t predicted to arrive until late afternoon, with a thunderstorm expected at 10:00pm, so I launched at 10:00am.
I was on the water for five minutes when it started sprinkling, That lasted for just two minutes, and I continued on my way, planning to paddle almost two miles upstream before heading back. Rolling thunder in the far distance started about fifteen minutes into the paddle. Five minutes later, I got to my halfway point, which has a ten foot stone overhang six feet above the water, when it started to rain. Hard. I sat, protected, for twenty minutes, enjoying the sound of the rain on the water.
When it stopped raining, I continued on for three-quarters of a mile and was able to see a great blue heron, two green herons, and a deer. Pleased with the way things turned out, I turned back for the return to my launch point. That’s when the weather had it’s way, again, leaving me to paddle for twenty-five minutes in a light rain. If it was trying to ruin my day, it failed. It was a great day for a paddle.
How long have I been sitting on this branch?
Did I just get here, or am I about to leave?
You know, I don’t particularly mind the flight across the river.
Of course, I’m no starling. I know I can look languid,
rising and falling in flight as I dart along.
After all, there is a view to be admired.
And fish to spy out. There’s one now!
No problem, I’ll get the next one,
but that water sure was refreshing.
Wait, what’s that noise? There, upriver.
It’s that guy in the boat, again.
The one who splashes water on both sides.
What’s with him? Can’t he afford a motor?
It takes him forever to get anywhere.
He’s not just slow. He’s always stopping
to hold that think up to his eye.
But wait, he sees me. Time to dart to the other side.
Oh man, now he’s splashing again.
He’s coming over here now, isn’t he?
You know, he moves a lot faster when that thing is in his lap.
At least he can see where he’s going.
Well, I’m not going to hang around and wait for him.
It’s time to dart downstream. I’ve got fish to catch.
He’s still following me! This is going to be one long morning.