This is the literary weblog of Jeffrey W. Hull, M.D., a pediatrician. It is intended mainly as a place to maintain a collection of poetry created for the enjoyment of a few friends and as an archive for my family. All material is protected by US copyright.

Jeffrey Hull

Friday, March 11, 2005

Boatbuilding and Life

A reflection on parallels in life.

I Once Built Boats

I once built boats to pass the time
   Or better said, the boats built me;
At workday's end aboard I'd climb,
   In quiet backyard reverie.

The boat erect on sawhorse stood,
   The object dear of all my toils;
The curling hiss of plane on wood
   Dropped fragrant heaps of fresh-cut coils

And humming bandsaw coaxed from wood
   The complex shapes that make a boat,
To fit exactly as they should,
   And strike the proper shipshape note.

And sometimes in the quiet night
   I'd stop to savor every curve
By hand or eye in pure delight
   That beauty can such function serve,

And piece by piece the form emerged
   From nails and clamps and glue and wood,
As character and work converged
   To form my life for ill or good.

For every life and every boat
   Are children of our dreams at play,
And life well-lived or craft afloat
   Is never built in just a day.

© 2005 Jeffrey Hull


On the surface this is lighter than "In Memoriam," but to me it's ultimnately just as serious. In both poems you are examining the shapes of entire lives. To do this with a light touch is difficult and admirable.
This is lyrical and beautiful.

I shall share it with Tom, and his Dad for they both love boats and reflect on life with the same enthusiasm.

"Or better said, the boats built me;" - my favorite line.

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