'BELONGING' -- Kayak Memories as Hospital Antidote

poem, Belonging, lifted me out of hospital environment during recent femur replacement - evocation of kayak memories and promise upon our D&R Canal.


Princeton Patch readers may remember that I've been 'out of commission' for some weeks, due to a hip (well, actually a femur) replacement. 

This poem arrived this morning, almost the four-week anniversary of the liberating, so-successful surgery.

It describes a meditation that sustained me in hospital -- and I hope it brings joy to Princeton Patch readers and lures you to kayak while there's still appropriate weather. 

B.H. - before hip - the latest I've ever kayaked was Nov. 23.  Now, I look forward to warm air and warm canal waters, utilizing this month-old 'kayaker's hip' (Dr. Gutowski is not kidding!) given me on the ninth of November.

(I have experienced each of these vignettes upon our canal south of Princeton Canoe and Kayak Rentals at Alexander Road.)



you are not in a hospital bed

hostage to wires and tubes


scurrying feet do not convey alarm

about blood, about saline levels


you are first on the water

on an impeccable Sunday

in the cardinal-hued kayak

this hip had so long forbidden


zephyrs trace lace signatures

along the limpid canal

in this kindness of sunlight


your stroke is subtle, so

that glistening turtles still

remain in serried rows

upon the broad rough log


it is the time of marsh mallows

-- pinks and the rare white

dazzling against August sky

you and your bright craft dwarfed

beneath pleated blooms


you know just where to search

for shy cardinal flowers

bursting like fireworks

in their shaded haven


your prow glides soundlessly

into a hidden cove

where a green heron performs

precise morning ablutions


he lifts iridescent feathers


flashing prismatic light

over dark water


you practice motionlessness

reverent in the presence

of this avian monarch


stroking anew,

you are led by one imposing cormorant

who maintains precise distance,

turning his double-crested head

first this way, then that

leading you well and truly

into the fullness of morning


the canal ahead seems papered

with mounds of hefty cumulus

your prow cleaves white volumes

that could be arranged by Constable

only to be disarranged

by you


where the doe teaches two fawns

which grasses make breakfast

you plunge paddle and hand

deep into canal water

chill drops trickle

over both sunwarmed legs


this deep turn


back toward crisp reflections

of the white Alexander bridge


            it is not November

            you are not post-op


you are where you belong

out on the water


in marsh mallow time


                                                CAROLYN FOOTE EDELMANN 

                                                December, 2011

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Brenda December 07, 2011 at 02:50 PM
What a beautiful, descriptive, creative poem you've written, Carolyn. Your choice of words allow us to envision your upcoming, liberating Spring day outing, and inspires us to enjoy some outdoor activity,
Tasha O'Neill December 07, 2011 at 05:15 PM
Brenda is so right. What a fine poem - remembering scenes of the canal and looking forward to new experiences to come. The NEW PH (post hip) Carolyn. Can't wait to share your new adventures!
Joy Kreves December 07, 2011 at 08:13 PM
"in this kindness of sunlight"...one of my many favorite lines in the lovely poem! It's such a wonderful description that you have conveyed the whole atmosphere (quietness and smell and temperature) in this sublime adventure.
Greta Cuyler December 07, 2011 at 08:48 PM
Welcome back Carolyn!
Assenka Oksiloff December 09, 2011 at 04:55 PM
This is beautiful -- I'm new to Patch. I do, among other things, work for spiritual care programs in hospitals. I will share this with others!


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