I need no more
than a boat
and an oar.
Painting: “Warrior Canoe”, 30″ x 60″, by Holly Friesen. Holly’s painting was published on the blog: tweetspeak…the best in poetry and poetic things; and the suggestion to the reader is to view the painting and then write a poem in reaction to the experience. I was first introduced to this type of exercise at a writing workshop in Santa Fe, where we viewed paintings at the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, and wrote our spontaneous reactions to a favorite piece. As writers, I firmly adhere to an eclectic approach to craft; we benefit from the experiences we savor in dance, theatre, photography, painting…virtually all the visual arts. In this case, Holly’s image led to a spontaneous thought, Zen-like and sparse in tone, but upon close reading of just a few words, other associations presented themselves.
The title, To Cast, may mean throwing out or getting rid of that which is no longer needed, be it mental constructs, or old ideas and ways of being that no longer serve in a nourishing way, leaving you more unfettered and alive. Or casting off to sea in the physical sense of getting away from a harried, complicated life and rowing into new avenues of exploration in the clean sea air, feeling refreshed and open to receiving the next experience that rolls in at your feet. Or accepting what you are given in life, be it clear skies or stormy seas.
On a practical level, the poem distinguishes between wants and needs. In reality we don’t need most of the things we want. Our basic needs are just that…basic, and happiness is not accrued by having more “stuff”. It’s the liberating feeling that comes with spring-cleaning; casting out all the clutter collected over the years and letting go of things that tie you down (feeling moored?). It feels duly good to simplify, to get rid of unwanted stuff and to stop over-scheduling meetings and events, taking the time to bask in the experience of simple moments…akin to gently rocking in your tiny boat on a sea of calm.
Now scroll up and read the poem one more time.
Oh, how endless the metaphors! Please share your thoughts, dear ones.
(Thank you, Maureen Doallas for your lead-in to this exercise).