Welcome to The Tangled Branch!  Join us.

Grandpa's Row Boat

General Poetry - post, comment, review, critique
Post Reply
indar
Posts: 1009
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:00 pm

Grandpa's Row Boat

Post by indar » Sat Jul 13, 2019 3:23 pm

Grandpa's Row Boat

Night was filled with loon calls, croaking
dog fish in the reeds,
men cursing the cards dealt them
under a hissing kerosene lamp.

Retired railroad men whose conversation turned
to how many they had killed,
couldn't be helped,
damn near flattened iron wheels on the rails 
trying to stop.
My grandpa killed eleven.

His friends never left before I fell asleep.
Grandpa woke me predawn, tackle box in hand
we made our way, silent in the dark
except the thunk of grandpa's boots on wood steps
down to the lake,
he pulled his rowboat against the dock, 

a boat wood-ribbed like the inside of a fish,
I jumped in, oars in oarlocks
surge and stall in time to grandpa pulling on the oars
to the edge of the water lily patch--best damn fishing spot.

My bait was earthworms in a coffee can,
Grandpa cast a jig and minnows.
When the sun came up I most often leaned overboard, 
shady side, to peer down into that other world below,
green pierced with shafts of heavenly light.

 

User avatar
Mark
Posts: 265
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:19 am

Re: Grandpa's Row Boat

Post by Mark » Sat Jul 13, 2019 7:10 pm

Very nicely done. I suggest reconsidering ' hissing' as a bit cliche. Also, revisit 'wood steps' for possible modification.


my line of the poem, excellent
 
a boat wood-ribbed like the inside of a fish,

  

User avatar
Tracy Mitchell
Posts: 993
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:58 pm

Re: Grandpa's Row Boat

Post by Tracy Mitchell » Tue Jul 16, 2019 2:21 am

Oh Linda-- this is so good.  You have me right there, looking over gunwale with you. 

Great last line, and so much to like throughout.   You bring several of the senses strongly into play with this narrative.

Not sure about the tense of "surge and stall in time " , but it does nail the movement of a boat being rowed.  And the Grampa wouldn't  have a small motor, just the oars.  :)

Thanks for posting.

Cheers.

T

Matty11
Posts: 354
Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:58 am

Re: Grandpa's Row Boat

Post by Matty11 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 4:24 pm

hi Linda

Very much enjoyed the write: it is not a world I know, the rail life or the fishing one, but you gave me glimpse.

On the crit. side I don't feel you need all croaking/cursing/hissing; and I'd cut most often.

best

Phil
indar wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 3:23 pm
Grandpa's Row Boat

Night was filled with loon calls, croaking
dog fish in the reeds,
men cursing the cards dealt them
under a hissing kerosene lamp.

Retired railroad men whose conversation turned
to how many they had killed,
couldn't be helped,
damn near flattened iron wheels on the rails 
trying to stop.
My grandpa killed eleven.
His friends never left before I fell asleep.

Grandpa woke me predawn. Tackle box in hand
we made our way, silent in the dark
except the thunk of grandpa's boots on wood steps
down to the lake.
He pulled his rowboat against the dock, 
a boat wood-ribbed like the inside of a fish,
I jumped in, oars in oarlocks
surge and stall in time to grandpa pulling on the oars......oars x2?
to the edge of the water lily patch--best damn fishing spot.

My bait was earthworms in a coffee can,
Grandpa cast a jig and minnows.
When the sun came up I most often leaned overboard, 
shady side, to peer down into that other world below,
green pierced with shafts of heavenly light.

 

 

Dave
Posts: 545
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:07 pm

Re: Grandpa's Row Boat

Post by Dave » Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:36 pm

A great Scene and very well narrated. there are one or two places where it could be cut as the Details are self evident - the silence and Darkness (before dawn) for example, which are both clear from the context and somewhat cliched Details for such a trip. Having said that the ending is beautifully rendered.
 

indar
Posts: 1009
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:00 pm

Re: Grandpa's Row Boat

Post by indar » Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:53 pm

Indeed this is one I posted down and dirty because sometimes I can't wait until I've edited--low impulse control. I will rewrite taking in all the comments offered.

Mark, do you object to wood steps because it is 1 of 2 uses of the word or some other reason?

 Phil I got a good laugh at this:
I don't feel you need all croaking/cursing/hissing;

You are correct of course :D

Tracy, Grandpa had a cabin on the Gull Lake Channel near Nisswa for years until he finally moved there to a different lake. I'm absolutely convinced it is his old cabin near which the famous wood-chipper sequence in Fargo was filmed.

Dave, yes, I will trim considerably next time through.

Thank you all.

Post Reply