Blue Boats

20 April 2018

I.

The blue boat broke
in two.
The ocean oozed
through
the break.  Blue oozed
everywhere, the shore,
the sky, the breakwater,
with its teeth of rocks,
rocks sharp as incisors
birds sensed not to land on,
except when an occasional
fish would flip
out of the water onto the break,
and become caught
on the teeth.  Gulls dove for those,
and lifted them,
bloody, torn, out of the cavities.
Splinters of blue boat caught
on the breakwater, splinters,
like small abandoned oars,
thrown higgledy-piggledy
by an exhausted crew after a race.
Then the blue evening
settled over the scene,
easing the angst
of the break-up.
A pale moon rose,
and left faint glow,
on the ocean that had turned
purple.

II.

Lacquered dark blue,
the boat’s hull
reflected the sun-dazzled
bay blinding me.
I looked, quickly, away,
to ease my eyes,
resting my sight
on the horizon, where the silk
blue sky fell, a drape,
its end dragging on the dully
polished silver of the ocean.
I looked back at the boat,
turned, now, the color of blackberry,
the sun no longer shining directly
down on the water round it.
Sailors on deck beefed-up
the slender lines of the craft.
They polished polish,
the railings already gleaming.
I thought the mast’s erectness appeared
to yearn for a sail
be hoisted!
Why else be
born a boat?

III.

A slap-dab job of it
had been made
to cover the rust
with blueberry blue paint.
A working scow, frills
were not even a thought,
save the threadbare lace doilly
on which stood a small
plastic statue of the Virgin-
of-the-Sea, the skipper
would touch with a finger,
from time-to-time,
as he thought a prayer,
for his, and his boat’s,
safe journey out and back;
or for his son, away
at college where he rowed.
This morning he had passed the gleaming
boat anchored in the bay,
passed the breakwater where slivers of blue
boat had caught on the teeth of the rocks.
He was not certain why.
But he had thought a prayer
for each of them as he passed them.
Perhaps, he thought, he was
hedging his bets
for survival in the face of all odds.

IV.

The pale lavender air faded to grey,
above the slate blue sea,
this at the close of an azure
sea all that day,
that had turned turquoise
at the edges abutting
the shore, transforming the boats
into floating jewels.  Then all
had turned the shade of violet,
linking azure to slate
to pale lavender to grey,
the whole of the bay layered blues,
the scene like a vast boat
setting out into the sea
of night.

Philip Kuepper
(9 April 2018)

Editor’s Note: April is Poetry Month, therefore HTBS will publish some more poems during the rest of the month.

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