Canoe

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
July/August 2015

By Hannah Mark

Gliding through the water
As swift and silent as an arrow
With the swish swish splash of the paddle.
Water burbling over smooth stones, singing over sticks,
Jumbling in a happy mass to wherever rivers go.
The blue blue sky overhead, clear as crystal,
Dotted here and there with wisps of milk-white clouds.
A gentle breeze, ruffling the water, making ripples.
Tousling my hair with invisible fingers.
The calls of birds to one another overhead,
A tapestry of sound, laced with splashes
And the murmur of summer crickets.
Trees in full glory,
Ancient reminders of what used to be,
Stand as silent sentinels—
Ever watchful as the river flows on.
Magnificent cliffs rise out of the current,
With tall black buttresses like a castle,
Cloaked in emerald green,
Polka-dotted by clumps of sunshine flowers.
The crunch of the boat on rocks.
Eager feet clamber out to explore this new place.
The smell of wild mint drifts lazily on the air
Like the circling hawk,
Wafting under my nose, inviting a taste…
An eagle, full of splendor and pride,
Perches in the tallest tree
And watches everyone below.
Like a father, stern, gazing on playing children.
His eyes are black as the rock and cruel if need be.
The boat drifts on again,
Past a brigade of pelicans dressed in shiny white.
They glance momentarily at our canoe and,
As if deeming it not important enough to trouble
themselves with,
They continue their toilet.
All this beauty and magnificence,
Captured in a single moment, like a snapshot,
Tucked away in the folds of memory,
To be taken out later and cherished as a jewel,
A memory of what once was,
The canoe, the river,
the long ago
afternoon…

Canoe Hannah Mark

Hannah Mark, 12
Hardin, Montana

About the Author

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