POEM: little boat


little boat

Polynesian children are placed in boats
at a very young age
their parents want them to feel the waves
against the boat
to understand the subtle patterns and shifts
so that as adults
when it comes time to navigate the far distances
they don’t need maps
they simply need to remain quiet, still
let their bodies
translate the soft messages of vibration
the sailors themselves
are compasses, nerves like needles pointing
no need for north
translating the waves within the waves
as they cross the sea

23 June 2013
Auburn AL

Note: In her own note on this photo, Arielle referred to this as “little bedraggled boat.” I have to assume she was joking, because one look at the photo and it’s immediately clear that, far from being bedraggled, she is radiating strength. This photo and the one of Arielle with her mother and sister are what inspired this series.

/ / /

I’m writing a poem a day in 2013. During June, each day’s poem will be inspired by a photo of writer Arielle Brousse doing yoga. I’ve been a fan of her writing for years. Arielle writes the Unforgettable Detritus blog and curates The Sensible Nonsense Project, a collection of writing about people’s favorite childhood books. Thank you to Arielle for allowing me to use the photos, and for all the entertaining and inspiring writing she’s done over the years.

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