water slapwood creak
duck’s feet dangling
a peeper’s eyes
titter, a tad probe
where the long finger
rinse, dip
clean as a coffee spoon
log in dark reaches
in and outin and out
in and outin and out
shabby, the green silk
sticky as spider spit
to the
drumming the wood ribs
see it?
in broken shadows
the wood box hops the water
left right
filled with
grey mountain
(good for you, all that exercise)
wet shoe

Questions and Answers

What inspired “Paddle”?

“Paddle” poses for the reader two different sorts of movement: the regular stroke of the solitary canoeist, and the irregular observations and fanciful thoughts that drift occasionally into the canoeist’s mind. The canoeist is not thinking very hard, not much is happening, and the poem has no “message” or symbolic content. Just a nice few hours out on the water!

What poetic techniques did you use in “Paddle”?

I do not find it useful to talk about “technique” in a poem; I am more comfortable with the word “style”—e.g. is this poem written in a relaxed conversational style, or in a meditative and very personal style, or in a joking style, or in a musical or in a chanting style, etc.

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