The Voyage is Not Easy



The voyage is not easy

in our small canoe,

traveling across the ocean

we sing,

I am coming hither,

liquid vowels gliding from our throats

punctuated by the rhythm of the oars

sliding almost silently

into sapphire sea


There is no time here,

there are no hours,

just the sea and the sky

we navigate by the stars,

watching them chase each other

guiding our way

we sleep with water flowing under us

and I laugh and laugh and laugh

feeling joy in being alive

as the water rocks me like a cradle


Here in this small craft

I will sing of the shrimp

and of a maiden rescued from the eel

I am coming hither

I will sing a song of the seas

rolling waves carry me

in this tiny craft

the water is wide

but I row steadily

silver fish fly through the water

and white birds dive to seize them


I am coming hither

the moon shines full and bright

I am coming hither

My voice will drown the siren calls

I sing,

I am coming hither

I am coming hither

the sun is rising

turning the sky orange and pink

leaving a path on the water’s surface

I am almost there.


A few days ago, I saw a story about a Hawaiian canoe traveling around the world. You can read about the canoe here and here.  Then this morning I heard the late Israel Kamakawiwo’ole  singing a song called “Opae E.”  I imagined a man on one of these canoes singing the song. There is a legend that a young woman is kidnapped by an eel. He calls on the creatures of the sea for help, but only the shrimp will help the man to free his sister. The shrimp blind the eel, and the man frees his sister.


16 thoughts on “The Voyage is Not Easy

  1. Oh, I love the legend (shrimp and eel battle included, like David and the Giant, Goliath) and your poem is really nicely told, like a simple, beautiful story unfolding. ❤

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