Saturday, August 2, 2008

Boundary Waters Voyage Log, Section I

As promised, I am posting a trip log kept by Yours Truly on our family's Boundary Waters trip of last week. I astonished myself by not only keeping a faithful journey of our doings along the five principle days of our trip--two pages penned in my underused, pointy, scrawling cursive for each day--but writing a poem for each day! Some of you may be familiar with my past attempts at poetry. Some of them may have had serious prosaic value, but in their entirety they had a serious problem: they didn't rhyme. Of course, not all poetry rhymes, but for someone like me--far more prosaic than poetic--non-rhyming poems become especially melodramatic prose. These five poems are all in rhyming couplets, in the AABB format. One is three stanzas, three are four stanzas, and one, which I regard as my greatest achievement, is five. These poems were not, as my previous ones were, entirely imagination. For every one of these poems, I made sure that I had a solid inspiration. Uninspired poetry is not poetry at all; although with previous attempts I had tried to deny it.

Because of the length of each entry plus poem, I will post one now and the rest in later posts. Enjoy!

July 27-August 1


Taken by Dan and Sue Hanson, Moses Bratrud and Abraham Bratrud.

Day 1-July 27

We took our time leaving--which was just as well because some indigent members of the expedition had done no packing at all. However, we were on the road by no later than 2:20 PM with a full church service under our belts. We took in a less substantial repast at Wendy's in Hudson. Dad called as we supped on fats and carbohydrates in colorful packages. He was slightly underwhelmed by our progress thus far. But we pushed onward.

I can't stress enough how enjoyable the trip up was--would have been, that is, if we had left our legs behind. Dan's truck, which could otherwise be compared favorable to a faithful Yorkshire draft horse, is not as faithful inside. In fact, it's nothing short of adulterous. But I should not have been surprised--after all, Dan pointed out on the original window sticker of his Dodge Dakota that it had seating for "two adults and three legless midgets OR two Rhode Island Red laying hens." By switching positions between the three passenger seats (dubbed: Cramped, Even More Cramped, and The Crusher) Mom and Abe and I managed to disembark with our lower appendages intact. We intended to push on to Grand Marais, MN, for some bonus sightseeing, but while still miles distant, Dan pointed out the Ranger Station where we would have to go in the morning anyway to get our permit, and instead of backtracking like that we decided to find somewhere closer. An utterly forgettable Americinn appeared wraith-like out of the dusk, the lights of its pool wing filtered through condensation-covered windows that danced with reflection off the water beckoned us in like moths. Our room is already a dim fog in my memory. It was one of those newfangled ones which they pour directly into the mold, bedsheets and all, at a faceless factory in Xjinhujaxian Province in the People's Republic.

It was 7:49 PM by the time we wafted out of the motel in search of some half-mythical purveyor of foodstuffs. It was cleverly hidden, but our brave questor heroes did not falter and found themselves ensconced on the deck of the strangely multinational Cafe Coho, where "skeeters" outnumbered patrons by a substantial ratio. Staff with un-Italian accents (no, not American either) served Italianesque food that was nothing less than manna to the weary travellers, topped off by a massive slice each of a chocolate concoction that bore a resemblance to a DQ ice cream cake. Bellies distended and appetites sated, we returned to the--what was it again?--and fell into exhausted sleep.

[And now, the poem. My first and shortest effort. Also perhaps my weakest, but at least I improved instead of the alternative!]


When a shaft of light,
Strong and bright,
Shines through the pallor of cloud
It is the smile of a maiden unbowed.

When water it hits
It bursts into bits
In the facets of water's expanse
And re-forms, into a watery dance.

But when cloud, like a fist, closes once more
The dance is infected, it becomes like a sore.
Then light without sun, shadow without shade.
The sun won't return, even if it is bade.


elisabeth said...

hey so far so good. I am actually looking foward to your next post.

Sola Gratia said...

Hey, Liz. Thanks. Agh, always the tone of surprise. So you don't USUALLY look forward to my next post? *Sigh* ;)