John I. Blair
During the War, the second War,
When metal flew on bombing runs,
My father found the truest wood,
Tough as ash, hard as oak,
Straight as fir, and built a boat.
Each part he soaked in a slender tank,
Softened, tamed them, coaxed with care
To graceful, smooth, elliptic curves,
Molded them on a solid frame
Shaped with art to hold his schemes.
My father strapped this gleaming craft
Upside-down on our blue Ford coupe
And off we drove with happy laughter
To a silty pond we named a lake
In sunbaked Kansas in the forties
Where he tried the boat in a quiet cove.
Slipping two hand-made oars in locks,
He sat on the thwart, sketched a stroke,
And proudly rowed along the shore,
Upright, level, gunwales high.
But, Dadís boat weighed a hundred pounds
And wore his oarsman patience out.
He took it on some family flings,
Showed it the water a score of times,
Then stored it on our attic beams.
After sixty years I like to think
That boat still rests in a hallowed spot
Still tight, still golden, beautiful,
A testament in plank and glue
To the mighty weight of my fatherís dreams.
©2005 John I. Blair