The oars seem to move through oil without splashing.
And the boat inches slowly over the heavy surface
towards the black line of trees on the shore.
The grandmother rows steadily and the child grows more uneasy.
She does not like being out at night.
She cannot imagine how this same scene looked in the daylight.
She cannot imagine how they will find their way back -
in this darkness - in a boat - in the water.
And now they have rowed through a narrow passage through the black trees
and she can no longer see the yellow light of their campfire or the outline
of their tent. Only darkness, and she shuts her eyes till
the grandmother nudges her and points her finger towards the greenish lights
like dancing Christmas lights.
Look - fireflies.
Celia McCulloch has been writing poetry for many years, and in the last decade has had poems published in northern anthologies and literary magazines such as Anon, Iron, Mslexia, Other Poetry...
The Laden Table was published as a pamphlet by Vane Women in October 2006, and she is now putting together a second collection.
More and more in poetry she goes back to her childhood in Michigan, where she knew her great grandfather, who was born before the American Civil War. As for the skills of poetry writing, she is still learning.
Read another Poem of the Month by Celia McCulloch, Night Trains in Maine.
Follow the link for a list of other Poems of the Month.
Grandmother Rowing © 2007 Celia McCulloch: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.
Photograph of Celia McCulloch © Andrew McCulloch 2007.