The Allegory of the Wave 

2012 Canadian Men’s Eight pre-Olympics. Photo courtesy Kevin Light Photography.

20 July 2019 

By Grant Sommers

“Last of he will be able to see the sun, and not mere
reflections of him in the water”
Plato, The Allegory of the Cave

A rower struggles on the waves
Fights to stay upright,
then fights to win
At 7 am the character
of the wave changes, now
must wrestle
once-friendly atmospheres
And who is right
in this struggle
with the wind?

Endless repetitious rhythms,
What is the point of rowing
fast, only in calm waters?
So you train and tire every day
till the sunlight fails –
gives to the night
that sets you free

Like waves to our boats
our character is lashed
in amplitudes and frequencies
unrelenting, again, and again
We pay forward the tempest
We rise, only to trough, but we rise
again, and again, and again

And finally, through the din
As our legs and lungs are spent
As we have already given all
Echoes the cry that brings us home
Victory, victory…


Grant Sommers, who is a communications professional and an amateur poet, has been a member of the Argonaut Rowing Club in Toronto, Canada, since 1997. He was a competitive Masters Rower through 2015. Grant writes that Argonaut RC is one of Canada’s oldest and largest rowing clubs and has “by far the most storied in terms of Olympic performances.” He continues, “our members have included the legendary Joe Wright Sr., and Jr., Jack Guest, and Marnie McBean to name a few. I have been compiling histories of our many Olympians and these now reside on our website.” For the past nine years, Grant has also been the editor of the club’s newsletter, Argonotes.

Grant has procrastinated in publishing his manuscripts for six years, but he plans to unleash much of his work on the world in 2019. HTBS wishes him luck. We have a feeling that more of Grant’s poems will show up on this space…

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