APRIL IN THE BOATYARD

April in the boatyard breaks raw and restless;

Scudding clouds spill a chill rain,

Underfoot, snowmelt soaks the frosty gravel.

In the shore-side scrub, nesting geese

Honk in anger, woodchucks bark and scramble.

 

April in the boatyard

Stoic jackstands, erect as sentinels,

Shoulder hulls crusty with barnacles. 

Sailboats squat on leaden keels

Awaiting sander, paint and power-drills

Their proof against the years.

 

April in the boatyard I’m hauling batteries,

Fixing wires 'til  my boat’s nervous system fires,

Electronics quicken.. She blinks with life.

 

This year, like every year,

I wash and buff and pamper,

Caress my girl’s lines, smooth her wrinkles,

Applying rouge that keeps the old flame

Forever young.

 

But, this is my 70th April..

Strong muscles have gone stringy,

Eyes unsharp.  Bones and joints rebel

At rubbing, polishing, pampering.

 

Beyond the line of scrawny trees

I see the tide is running out.

On the black and barren flat

Fractured ribs of scuttled boats

Poke through the glistening mud...

Skeletal fingers from the grave

Of derelict, forgotten hulks.

 

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I count the years with melancholy,

but, not yet, not yet, not this boat.

Come the flood, and once again

My pretty sloop will float.  

Pulled by wind and straining sails

She will carry me

For one more year at least

Across the broad, eternal sea.

April in the Boatyard.mp3