Art Appreciation

23 May 2021

By Philip Kuepper

Homer has left painted
on the canvas of my mind
an Adirondack Guideboat
I have taken to paddling,
and portaging, through
the wilderness of my thoughts.

It is a boat built to carry
from lake to lake,
lakes that lie blue-eyed,
icy, deep in the north country.
The warmth is in the depths
where trout dwell, surreptitious.

They sense the approach of the fishermen.
They lie alert to the presence of the boat,
theirs a waterworld,
they that air kills,
algae their masquerade,
to fool the lure of the hook.

It is a sweet boat
of spruce and cedar,
a boat with a plank keel.
It is ribbed, meticulously.
Its oars of cherry
flash through the summery
light that hits the water like a cast line.

It is a cast line that tricks
the fish to the surface,
caught off guard
by the very nature of which it is a part.
Its flesh slaps at the wood of the boat.

In the end, it is the boat
that guides. Without the boat,
the shore is the limit.
Man’s body needs the boat to know the water.
The boat does not need man.
The art of the boat is all.

(7 April 2021)

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