Holding the wheel of a sailboat, or the reins of a thoroughbred horse, are much the same sensation.


Big Boats

Big boats and big horses, alike
The same feel between the legs
of rising power, eagerness,
galloping across watery fields
This animate thing held in the hands,
rolls and plunges under me, alive

A forty-footer, close hauled and flying
Rail down in green water, she hisses
and wind hisses back from the shrouds
Shoulders braced against her wheel,
leg out, to ride the thrust of sloping deck,
so like a shying thoroughbred

The wind is unpredictable, un-tame
It lies peaceful and grazing, head down
Then pricks its ears, neck swinging up
to snort, reminding who has power,
who merely holds the reins, sits deep
in its roiling watery saddle, waiting

Then we’re off and hunting-horns sound,
sliding into blue-green troughs and rearing
A bridle full of halyards, lines snapped taut
She’s breathing hard, this bloodline
carries years of careful breeding
She knows her way to the finish, running free

Wanting only a quiet word, a restraining hand
stretched along her neck, trimming sheets
to show respect for all these animated forces
No patience now for faulty horsemanship
Bring her close to the wind and heel her over
Big boats need their head to bring you home

Poetry Collection: Broken Pieces
This poem is included in
Jim Freeman’s
poetry collection
BROKEN PIECES
available here in print
or as an e-Book
in your favorite formats.