The Uncertain Beginning

29 July 2017

The sea lay sullen,
grey, just after
first light, a sea
even the festive
boats could not brighten,
boats that sat anchored
like prayers of praise,
the saint, celebrated,
would seem happy with.

But not the sea.
It lay, a glare of disapproval,
a sea not to mess with,
which was why the harbor
was slow to waken.
A rower braved passage
to harbor’s edge,
rowed back,
then repeated his row,
like a swimmer’s laps.
The wake he left excited
several small boats close
to his path.  They giggled
back and forth, in keeping
with the planned festivities.

Out of a cafe came hesitantly
members of the band scheduled to play.
But absent were trombone and drum,
assumed uncertain
about the show going forward.
Youths began sleepily to appear,
gathering, disheveled, like sea grass
breeze-blown.
A vendor arrived driving his gleaming
silver truck, fat
with hot dogs, hamburgers, heroes,
none of which brought a smile
to the sea.  But it was early.

The rower had knit,
with a semblance of calm,
the overall scene of threat.
He had loosened up the air, tied in knots,
and edged the harbor with a sense
of confidence the day
would unfold as hoped.

Philip Kuepper
(24 July 2017)

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