Splinters and All
The work so far is rough.
Each board lapstraked on the other,
raw, unplanned, splinters everywhere,
harsh to the touch.
But still, even now, rough-hewn in,
you can see the shape, the lines,
the promise of what could be,
a lifetime of boatbuilding helps you see that promise.
Let the sun, hot and raw, dry the wood,
shrink in the dry light
exposing each crack and potential leak,
providing a path for caulking,
for finding and repairing the gashes and irregularities
found even in the best of boards.
It is work. It takes time.
But bearing with the rawness,
waiting patiently for each flaw to show itself
is part and parcel of making the craft seaworthy,
able to cut through storms and tides.
The beauty comes later.
Again with time: the planning, the sanding,
each stroke creating a smoothness
that parts the sea just that much easier.
Then paint of course, Partially for beauty,
partially for that last slick coating
to hold back the salt and barnacles.
The beauty too, is work.
You have done this before.
It is not your first craft to build or rebuild.
Your life after all is a history of shipwrecks.
The beauty comes later.
This is your mantra here at the beginning.
as you begin the work,
splinters and all.
About this poem.
A lot of you who read here know that beyond being a life coach focusing on using our spirit to direct and lead us to success, I am also a poet. Now and then, the two merge.
It is often hard to see the end when we start. Harder still to believe in it. When we start something new, particularly when we start to overcome the things that have prevented our success in the past, it is easy to think we have failed before, we can’t REALLY reach out dreams.
Particularly when we first start the work. It’s hard. We are new at it and not very good. We struggle at first and it is easy to convince ourselves that we are too rough. That it will never happen. A lot like building a boat.
But real success comes not from being good when we start, but having the courage and persistence to stick with it even when the work of success feels awkward. To believe the messy work at the start will lead to the dream at the end.
A good coach or mentor or partner in success keeps reminding us. Keep up focused not on the failures or mistakes, but the progress. In time, if they are good at it, you start to do the same, making with work more meaningful, the setbacks less important, and the dream….. attainable.
The picture was taken at the boatyard at Mystic Seaport, in CT.