River Poetry     Nanook's River Poetry
The Paddle Came into my Hands

kedgie4 (204K)
Me with my fave paddle, Kedgwick River

The paddle came into my hands
unbidden and unexpected.
A weather-beaten stick of ash
another might have rejected.

Paul found it on the Miramichi
languishing in a bogan.
It was a curiosity,
I didn't think it would go again.

Who knows how long it bobbed unseen
hidden in the lonely thicket.
The summers, winters it had been
since human hand had fondly gripped it.

The sun had burned off all the varnish
on the side where it had caught her.
There was not the slightest tarnish
on the side stayed under water.

I hefted it and held it high.
It was lighter than I'd hoped.
When I raised it to my eye,
I saw it wasn't one bit warped.

One side shiny, one side worn,
the paddle was reversible.
In my hands it was reborn,
eminently immersible.

Two coats of shellac and some t.l.c.
made it more than acceptable.
It came on every trip with me,
we were all but inseparable.

Who can count the long sweet strokes we made,
the portage trails we toted and trudged?
Who can name the rapids where we played,
who knows the rocks we reached out and touched?

Till that fateful, fitful day
we were on the Nashwaak.
I let my boat at rope's end sway
to ease it round a big rock.

I misjudged the rapid's turn.
On the rock my boat was bent.
The paddle slipped out of the stern,
and into Narrows Gorge it went.

By the time I got my boat unhitched,
the sacred shaft had passed from sight.
I was angry, fit to be switched,
my paddle was gone, had taken flight.

Maybe 'twas meant to be that way.
My paddle could not serve just one.
It had to leave, it could not stay.
We'd had our seasons in the sun.*

So if a paddle you should see
floating down a woodland brook,
enjoy and use it lovingly.
It once belonged to old Nanook.

 Nanook of the Nashwaak
 Reach out and touch a rock

*Thank you, Terry Jacks.

Bartibogue River
Me with my fave paddle, Bartibogue River

speaker (1K)Hear Nanook recite this poem.

River Poetry      Sam Peabody
HTML Comment Box is loading comments...

optimized for mobile


Back-paddle

Home

Campfire
campfire chat
Tales!

Gear talk
River Poetry
Newest Page

riverpoetrybook (83K)
Buy the Book!
Nanook's River Poetry e-book
NB Paddlers

Message Board!

NB Maps
Canada Atlas
GeoNB Map Viewer
Current Water Levels
River Level
Reference Guide

email (2K)
Send me mail

NB Shuttle Providers
Nanook on Facebook
Buy the Book
nubookcover (48K)

Nanook's
Meanderings
Search my Site!