Breezing Up

by nonameharbor / Nov 16, 2012 / 0 comments

I take the position of ghost boy on the gunnel near the mast.
My feet, bare, wetted when the little boat heels, white running
Past the coaming. Essential opaqueness - I am only a notion.
The others are real.


Cod and haddock in the cockpit,
Shine of the sea, blue-green-silver.
Everyone is happy with thoughts of fish, sun, supper.
A yare breeze, three boys and father


Sailing to windward on a port tack.
Waves sweep beneath the Gloucester -
Spines stiffen on the rising wave,
Relax in the trough.


The boys dream of sea-serpents and
Pa talks of steamboats scaring away the fish.
The wind shifts, a building of thunder-anvils,
Southeast toward Portugal.


Someday, Pa says, Gloucester will sail far away,
Right down the coast for the sight
Of real coconuts falling from trees.
They’ll anchor in the warm sea, go ashore.





Winslow Homer’s painting, Breezing Up, was originally called Fair Wind. He painted it in three years, finishing in 1876. Initially Homer had painted a third boy on the canvas near the mast but then he painted over it.