Photograph: Werner Schmidt

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Putting on the Garment of Water and Light

Photograph © Tim Koch

Putting on the Garment of Water and Light

It was as though a moment
Of actual magic had taken hold.
The air had taken on a golden glow,
As though light was about to become
A form one could touch.

Henley-on-Thames, early morn,
Just after the first wren had sung
Dawn into being,
And the still, still world
Was yet to waken.

To that perfection he brought
His shell to lay upon the water,
Slip into it like a sleek garment,
Take up his oars and row
Into the brightening light.

He was watched by a presence, spiritual,
By the ghosts of all
The rowers who had rowed before him.
He felt the spectral
Breath upon his back.

He felt the spectral
Oars pull him forward,
Felt the pulse of the spirit
Beating in the hallowed
Air through which he rowed.

He left behind the fair song of the wren,
Swept past the boatsheds
Edging the Thames, like embroidery
On a school's scarf,
Past the watchful windows

Of the buildings of the town
Waking, one by one,
As the light touched them.
By the spirits of all the rowers
Gone before him, he was pulled

Forward toward the point
Where he turned
To row back to where
He bagan, to realize,
Each morning, his benediction.

Philip Kuepper
(July 2012)

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