Walking never rises from its ground
never meets my legs with its forward saplings and stumps.
And I would fall out of my own steps
to stand in loneliness and apart as if to confirm
bodily the being stranger to the same saplings and stumps.
But paddling can tumble from the clouds
like shafts that thread me into my arms,
stuff me into the wind,
man and canoe into the very scene.
This is how thinking loses its noise,
shows itself a thing of eyes and hands and wrists.
In the water the paddle forgets having been wood
cut cleanly from its earthly roots.
In the give of the blade, the twist of the shaft
it claims a kinship closer to wings.
Where movement learns flesh I, the paddler, am.
The ocean is its own whale
when it rounds its back lengthwise under your hull.
And to live that roundness as arrival!
A new country at your door with flowers in his hands.
“Laugh,” say the immigrant waves,
each in turn to the shoreline and the fortress.