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Poetry

Two men in a boat

Michael Baron

He holds the oars as if these might be helping hands

He holds the oars as if these might be helping hands
and as he's told: 'Dip them, dip them in the lake',
those eyes I've watched a lifetime say: 'I don't understand'.
This boat's a clinkered spinning top; currents take
command. Water swirls. A newly varnished bow is scraping
shadowed stones. He reaches out to connect, to align our touch.
I know this isn't love but need. That I've been waiting
forty years for sentences, words. Dear God, can it be too much
for unbelievers to ask for signs? Grab oars, push off the beach.
Marsh marigolds sink yellow into grass. Early pipistrelles weave
skaters' lines in air. He can't marvel at flight's surprise, nor reach
places of stored delight; heather, sunshot, fading, a raddled sleeve
on Grasmoor's flanks, Red Pike, Low Fell, High Stile.
We live in silence, to face each other. A trout is rising
at the stern. 'Trout'. 'Bbrout'. Echoing me his mouth will
hurt with emptiness. One tongue slowly learns to sing.He holds the oars as if these might be helping hands

and as he's told: 'Dip them, dip them in the lake',

those eyes I've watched a lifetime say: 'I don't understand'.

This boat's a clinkered spinning top; currents take

 

command. Water swirls. A newly varnished bow is scraping

shadowed stones. He reaches out to connect, to align our touch.

I know this isn't love but need. That I've been waiting

forty years for sentences, words. Dear God, can it be too much

 

for unbelievers to ask for signs? Grab oars, push off the beach.

Marsh marigolds sink yellow into grass. Early pipistrelles weave

skaters' lines in air. He can't marvel at flight's surprise, nor reach

places of stored delight; heather, sunshot, fading, a raddled sleeve

 

on Grasmoor's flanks, Red Pike, Low Fell, High Stile.

We live in silence, to face each other. A trout is rising

at the stern. 'Trout'. 'Bbrout'. Echoing me his mouth will

hurt with emptiness. One tongue slowly learns to sing.

 

 

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