by Kate Coombs
Push away from the stillness of the nut-brown land,
from the road that leads to the shore.
Push away from the town with its tight tree roots,
from its closed brown shutters and doors.
Push away—heave-ho—from the heavy brown pier,
from its pilings huddled and dull.
For the water sings blue and the sky does, too,
and the sea lets you fly like a gull.
Copyright © 2012 Kate Coombs. From the book Water Sings Blue. Chronicle Books. Reprinted by permission of the author.
This poem introduces my book Water Sings Blue. It also introduces the ocean. There is something fresh and hopeful about putting out to sea. You leave the solid land behind and begin a kind of movement that will not stop unless you return to shore. I grew up near the ocean, and I love it very much.
Write Your Own Poem: “Song of the Boat” is about opposites, so it is really a compare and contrast poem. In this case, we leave behind the heavy brown land in the first three stanzas and leap into the blue on a sailboat in the fourth stanza. What do you love, and what is its opposite? Write at least two stanzas about turning away from or leaving behind whatever is opposite and then a stanza celebrating the thing you love, whether it’s skateboards, singing, or a perfectly barbecued hot dog. Your stanzas do not need to be written as couplets (in two lines) or rhyme.
Kate Coombs writes picture books, middle grade fiction, and poetry. She grew up in California near the ocean, where she used to boogie board with her brothers and sisters. She likes to step on dry autumn leaves and thinks frogs are really funny. Her first poetry book, Water Sings Blue, won the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award for 2012.