the gathering – beginners – 8/4/13

ok, so I’m still writing (roughly) weekly poems for a Sunday afternoon worship service … perhaps I should also send these out to this list.

Also, I have a request …

I’m looking for ways to  publish my poems more widely, primarily as a book, but perhaps also as poems on other sites or lists.
I you know of publishers that you enjoy, that you think my poems would fit and resonate with, let me know and I’ll follow up on such leads.




I volunteered to help with a Learn to Row class at the Los Gatos boathouse, feeling I needed it for some reason. I found, by doing so, that I love the motion of a boat on the water, and now I remember what its like to be a beginner in this sport I’ve done for 17 years.

I went and helped a group of new rowers
learning to row
on this their second outing in a racing shell
and my job
was to become a pontoon
keeping the boat steady
so they could go through the motions
so unfamiliar
and could begin to learn
how to work together

it will take them 4 or 5 years
to grow up
through the development stages
if they continue to be drawn back
again and again
for the love of it

and they will learn
to stop thinking about the rules
and how they are to move
to have faith that the boat will set up and fly
as they feel
rather than think
their way forward
and let their grown up love
drive them further
and faster
than they had imagined
knit together
into a boat
tuned for speed

and it was only last year
that I told my friend Guy
to stop analyzing
his rowing stroke
to use his feeling words
to give up the tutor
of the stroke breakdown
and to pick up
the feeling sense
the love of the motion
that makes individual rowers
become a boat
that gets up
and flies


About Clark W Johnson

I am a poet, interested in using poetry to explore my interactions with the spiritual. I find poetry captures tension, paradox and flow well enough so I can hold experiences at arms length and reflect on them from multiple vantage points. As I walk deeper with my God, I'm finding such a record invaluable for myself, and I find that pieces and parts touch others as well. I love and long for more points of contact along those lines.
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