I Have Heard The Boat Sing

23 March 2019

By Larry Fogelberg

I‘ve heard the boat sing on many a stretch.
If it wasn‘t on key, that wasn‘t its fault.
But often it was, and the boat really sang,
In perfect harmony, us all right on beat,
Including the accelerando, avoiding defeat.

Ah, where were those stretches, when I was young?
The Squamscott River, where I first pulled an oar,
Then on the Charles, now sixty years gone.
A summer on Oslo fjord in a light clinker skiff.
On the Neckar, the Rhine, a race on the Main*.

Back on the Charles but then on the Thames
‘tween Berks and Bucks, you know just where.
On the Charles that fall, I had the best time,
And again on the Schuylkill the trophy was mine.

On the Alster in Hamburg, the boat sang “auf Deutsch.”

Down Under in Sydney, it also sang
In a different language, vernacular, slang.
When the cox said we wouldn’t be “light,”
He was only assuring we wouldn’t be late.

The boat wasn’t singing, when in a small bay,
A small hammerhead shark got in the way.
On the Yarra Yarra in Melbourne, it really did sing.
And I met a man from the better crew on the Thames.

Now back on the Main after so many years,
I’ve been on the Moselle and Starnberger Lake,
and rowed around Venice and San Diego Bay.

Fifty years later, I was back on the Charles.
The boat didn’t sing like it did when I won,
But I cherish the sound of its trying to hum.

*Main, pronounced ‘mine’

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