by Rick Hartwell

There is always one moment in childhood
when the door opens and lets the future in.
—Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory

Masts davening towards a procession of cumulus clouds,
washed-blue sky scraped by dizzy arcs;
shrouds, stays and halyards whining rhythmically against
varnished spars grooved with dark lines;
one-hundred-sixty-plus feet of 19th Century craftsmanship,
white-hulled, white-winged, spirit birds
becalmed in time, craving to flee this imprisoning harbor;
grandes dames straining anchor chains.

The schooners Goodwill and Pioneer, twenty times larger,
dwarf the eight foot dinghy alongside and
whisper insinuations of kinship to the cockleshell skiff;
seemingly impassive, bodies barely moving,
except to rise and fall twice daily with flood and ebb of
tides squeezed through the constricting jetty;
I keen the loss of goddesses of my aspiration at ten or so,
divine glamour and expectant vagabondage.


RICK HARTWELL is a retired middle school teacher (remember the hormonally-challenged?) living in Southern California with his beautiful wife of 42 years, daughter, son, grandson, granddaughter, great-grandson, two dogs, and sixteen indoor cats! Like the Transcendentalists and William Blake, he believes that the instant contains eternity.


Photo: “HC02656