Photograph: Werner Schmidt

Friday, April 11, 2014

After the Thaw

After the Thaw

All the way down
from the country
he rode hopeful
past the cold
clear rills, past
creeks afroth with run-off,

toward the bay--
would it be asweep with light,
as he imagined it--
where he would meet the crew
with whom he would become
one of.

With them he would be
the rower he always was,
only more so, once he was
pulling oar in rhythm with them.
If asked, it was this
he would define as love.

Philip Kuepper
(18 March 2014)


  1. After the thaw in 1963 or, rather, it was when it was judged that it would be safe to get a boat out, even though there were still ice floes on the Isis, we got BNC's clinker boat out and gingerly began to remember how to row and, in my case, how to cox. Torpids had been cancelled but there would be Eights and the oarsmen had to get fit. Equally, I had to get skilled because I was a novice cox - the little fellow, as a schoolfriend who had gone up to BNC a year before me told the Boat Club. So it was a few strokes and then I had to shout 'Easy All' while we slid over the next ice floe.

  2. A footnote: unknown to me at the time that I was standing there in January '63, in front of the boathouses, looking at the frozen Isis, indeed unknown for many years until I met her because she had become the wife of a work colleague, was that round the corner skating on the even more frozen Cherwell was a 14 year old... What some students did was even more daring: drive an Austin 7 across the river near Donnington Bridge. One of them was a fellow BNC man (he had helped drive the car up from the South Coast), but only the owner did the daring deed.