Sonnet 12

Before we reached the bank two twelve year olds
were on the water in the good canoe.
Both Brand and I looked at our sons, their coup
apparent as they grinned at us, both bold
enough to know that, ten feet out, they controlled
the moment even though the wind still blew
and rain was falling hard, the clouds a stew
of swirling turbulence and cold.
Okay, Brand said. Inside the inlet, calm
prevailed, but as we went into the lake
the waves were higher than our heads. The qualms
I’d had at seeing youngsters make their break
to manhood with a crazymad aplomb
unmanned me–as they left me in their wake.

Note: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday Brand Windmiller, Jesse Windmiller, Brand’s grandson Braxton, my grandson Will Bingen, and I spent a few days at an unimproved campsite north of Minoqua Wisconsin. I am reprinting this sonnet written while our son, Kevin, was dying of cancer, in memory of that trip as I relived a glorious part of my life that Brand and Jesse were so instrumental in helping to make happen. I will be forever grateful for that special time with my son. A couple of photos from the Minoqua trip are below:

Mist in the Early Morning
Mist in the Early Morning

In the Land of the Cranes
In the Land of the Cranes


Filed under Art, Photography, Poetry, Thomas Davis

9 responses to “Sonnet 12

  1. Ina

    Such a lovely trip and tender memory.
    So this is what manhood is about 🙂

  2. Special memories expressed in a beautifully visual way, Thomas. It is good to go back to such happy times.

  3. What a wonderful menory and writren so beautidully Tom.

    Ive finally written my very first sonnet *grin* 😄

  4. I love the language of this piece: it’s muscular, masculine and direct, and perfectly fits the subject – and the sonnet form tells us this is about love without the word itself even needing to be mentioned. Wonderful craft from a master of our exacting art. N.

  5. Any story that starts with a canoe has my immediate interest, and to top it off with a great sonnet….well that’s just too too. This is just how it was at Worthly Pond, in Peru, Maine, so many years ago when each of us youngsters in turn “took off”–whether by boat, canoe, or swimming alone clear across the large lake–to the consternation of our elders and the jubilation of “coming of age”. Growing pains on both sides. A beautiful poem, Thomas.

  6. …as they left me in their wake.

    A beautiful ending here to such a meaningful poem and life.

  7. So very stiring, Thomas. A beautiful sonnet.

  8. This is a wonderful piece of writing on several levels. Unforgettable, I suspect, and scented with many kinds of emotions. Truly a keeper.

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