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Rowing a boat

May 10, 2012

I have started to write poetry; and it has been more difficult than I thought.  Each day I sit with a pad and a cup of tea or more.  Sometimes I write and most times I don’t.

This morning I thought I would try and write a poem about learning to row … of this I am well accomplished – the rowing I mean.

But still I got no further than the sitting and drinking tea stage

When I remember I have a piece that also began as a poem

Ah well back to the drawing board and the cold tea … boom te boom

Don’t know what came first – the ability to row or the sense of balance (or more importantly getting into a dinghy)

The sense of balance becomes so highly tuned that one never forgets.  Even after the initial joy of being old enough to row a boat. When the skill has lain dormant and the opportunity comes again so the adrenalin and energy comes into play.  One can take the oars and manoeuvre the little dear – perhaps not at first like a 10 year old.  Nonetheless it is a beautiful experience.

As a farmer might have a wheel barrow or work horse, every boat person has a dinghy

A small dinghy was often called a pram dinghy which might give some idea of its shape.  It was about 6 feet long and about 3 ½ feet wide and made of ply wood that was moulded and screwed on to a simple wooden frame. It was a little more sophisticated than a coracle. My father could produce a dingy in a few days. He would select the finest timber and trims to demonstrate all his joining skills.  Or as one dinghy became beyond repair be would build another from recycled materials. So there was always a dinghy ‘on the go’ in his workshop.

I learned to row as my mother nursed my siblings on the aft thwart, I sat amidships between my dad’s knees.   At 10 years old I was able to row for real between the jetties taking messages, mail and groceries.

Rowing is an art – First you must take measured step to a central floor plank without overbalancing or allowing the boat to wobble out of control away from the shore.

Only when seated comfortably can you take the oars – usually ready in the rowlocks to be used – when the forward painter is released. Holding the oars one can gently use one to push away from the shore’s edge.

You should use a turn of the wrist so the wooden oars twist and strain against the steel of the rowlocks and the blades dip into the water.  With another twist so the blades skim across the surface of the water no effort is wasted –  like a dancer – as she glides across the stage tide.  Eyes to the rear but glancing forth and back, holding, turning, pushing and waiting, with legs outstretched and straightened back.

Ever watchful that we are not taking in water with baler at the ready and a quick look for imminent danger – taking oars in board and to bale hastily.  Then, with a rearrangement of balance and dignity we are back on course.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 30, 2012 2:08 pm

    Wow, superb welbog layout! How lengthy have you ever been blogging for? you made running a blog look easy. The full look of your site is great, let alone the content! been browsing on-line greater than 3 hours today, but I never found any attention-grabbing article like yours. Ita1a6s beautiful value sufficient for me. In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content material as you did, the web might be much more useful than ever before.}

    • May 30, 2012 2:18 pm

      I have only been blogging for a few months. I am very new to creative writing but have a lot of baggage and experience. Thankyou for your very kind words.

  2. January 15, 2014 6:50 am

    Reblogged this on Living, Libraries and [Dead] Languages and commented:

    This post has become a story within a story as I add another layer! These last weeks, what with the visitors and my mum’s death, being creative has not been my priority; this has been a mixed blessing. I am reluctant to say usual business will resume soon; I am wondering if this little girl who began almost 60 years ago should perhaps ‘push the boat out further’ … what do you think?

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