The Ritual, Enacted

7 August 2022

By Philip Kuepper

I like the word lapstrake.
I like the lattice-sounding sense of it,
the lapping over, the layering,   
the interweaving.
What simply beautiful curves   
shape the boat,
the knife-blade of its bow,   
its clean-cut squared off stern,
like a cadet’s haircut.   
To sit in the cupping of it,
to take in hands its oars,   
to feel the blades’ edges cut the water,
the beautiful resistance   
between wood and water,
how the water does not want to be moved,   
and how the wood wants to move it,
the feel of the weight of the resistance   
climb along the oars,
then through one’s hands, one’s wrists,   
and up along one’s arms.
To row such a boat   
through the liquid element
is to realize the divine.

(17 July 2022)

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