The Art of Sailing

6 January 2019

By Philip Kuepper

The skin of the sea is a zebra of blues:
Purple, cobalt, lavender, milky green,
the whole of the sea a canvas
at which a painter is working,
furiously,
before what is painted begins
to erase itself.

Does this explain the boat?
The boat, though in motion,
will not erase itself,
its spruce hull setting it
squarely in the middle
of the scene evaporating
as I look at it.

The sea can only be depended on
to be undependable,
just as purple dependably bleeds
into aqua, aqua into cobalt, causing
all shades of color
undependable.

Yet, the boat,
the boat is different,
the boat a tangible thing
my eye can grip hold of,
and sail with vision,
vision even in a blinding
sun burning to glare
the shades of color, a glare
become white that hurts to look on.

Turning away, I sense the boat
still present. The boat will
not erase itself, will not
disappoint by suddenly
not being there, its sails
triangling the plane of the canvas,
the boat painting a voyage
that can be seen in the making,
and will, come voyage’s end, anchor itself,
the boat that will pin the scene
to lasting reality.

(27 October 2018)

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