Week 11: Personal Literary Non-Fiction Take 1
This week we had to write about a transitional moment in our lives. We just had Shelagh Plunkett come to our class. She was this very lovely lady who writes literary non-fiction. And we have to write such a work for this week’s blog entry. So, here goes I guess.
This is a poem about my time at summer camp. It isn’t really a moment, as a period, but I though it more important than any other things to talk about. I can’t quite write properly anymore, I’ve been stuck on poetry more and more lightly. It’s liberating and descriptive in way other writing just isn’t. Anyways, so it is…
Pff! Lilly dipper at the stern!
Paddle good boy, paddle better
I can do this right, paddle well
Water splash, wet shirt, windy day
Let’s go boy! We’re falling behind!
Don’t get us lost already boy!
Swirl the water, silent push pull
Owl’s wing, Silver fish, do it!
I should have done it boy, land ho!
Pff! Lilly dipper take the bow
Paddle hard, I can take it, boy!
I can stern us right, back on route
Swirl the water, like Silver fish
Paddle all day, camp for the night
Bitch take that in hand! Paddle bitch.
Walk a kilometer, help me
Boy I said tipi me! God damn!
Man, that kid knew about it boy.
Sorry cuts it now, grab a bag.
Paddle all day, supper at night
Swim in the morning, breakfast, go
Get some fire wood, good armful
Last day in the forest of birch.
You should try harder boy, you should
Find out what you want to do boy
C, I, Teenger, try very hard
Boy, you’ve got work ahead of you
Don’t forget to pull your weight son
Never forget to pull your weight
One hundred meeter portage, boy
Five hundred, two kilometer
I can do it too man! I can
Walk two kilometers, back heavy
With pots, pans, paddle in my hands
My feet in the mud, Algonquin
Blue barrel, food tub, Algonquin
Portage, long distance man, I can!
Pff! Lilly dipping is for them
I’ll be teaching them next summer
Swimming lessons, canoeing, man
Speedo Marc says you hold promise
Man, you’re on your way. Don’t forget
Don’t forget to pull your weight man
Woodworking, handyman, do more
Study everything, master it
Gotta be a bushcraft master
Certified bushcraft master, man!
Step outside, underwear, tree branch
Congrats man, better pull your weight
Left the snake man, don’t forget them
Make your pine needle tea, bushcraft
Master the tasks, sharpen your knife
Man, you’re on your way, almost there
You know your mushrooms, saved the kids.
Made a day-old embers fire
Pff! God didn’t help me one bit
Fire bearer, saved the tribe man.
Didn’t even speak to bring it
Across the lake, baptized today.
He’s the Silver fish in water
Forest of birches, fire land
Portage, two kilometers meters, man!
A note for reader:
I’m sorry about all the terms that might be a bit elusive. The camp was out in the forests of Southern Ontario, and it was very heavy on the idea of masculinity. The terms all come from camp.
- A lillidiper is a bad paddler. We have regular canoe trips, and lots of canoeing there, and everyone has to pull their weight. Lilliydipping if seen as general bad paddling. However more specifically people regard it as a failure to create whirlpools behind one’s paddle.
- Owl’s wing is a term for swiftness and silence, like the owl’s wing. It is used to refer to good, beautiful and practiced movements. It comes from the feathering technique in canoeing which we began to call the owl’s wing for it’s smooth and beautiful motions. In the poem it is used to hurry the lillidiper along and tell them paddle well.
- The Silver Fish is a fish from a song, Land of the Silver Fish I believe. The silver fish was a swift spirit that ran through the waters of lake, according to Algonquins, so we hear. Native american myths are heavily used for their symbolic aspects, although there is an obligatory chapel service every sunday.
- A paddle bitch is the camper on a canoe trip who is left with paddles and other miscellany to carry across a portage. They are most often seen as the rejected member of the group, and given the title as a way to keep them behind and struggling while being seen as week and unable to carry much more than the things they struggle to keep in hand because of their scattered nature.
- Tipi me is a term used when talking about portaging a canoe. After carrying it across the portage, the transporter would let the stern fall and ask to be tipied, to have the bow supported by an other man as they stepped out of the yolk of the canoe.
- C.I.T. (C.I.Tennager) is short for Councilor in Training. I added the teenager as a play on words to illustrate the youth of the C.I.T.s and how I felt seen as still young, and not grown up.
- AWSI is a swimming level. It is a teaching level,it stand for Assistant Water Safety Instructor. Mark, who always wore a speedo gave the course. He was nicknamed Speedo Mark.
- Bushcraft Master is an honor one can earn, a distinction, a level essentially that signified one’s advanced knowledge in fire starting, weapons making and all manner of crafts related to living in the bush. Although, I don’t feel I’m much of a bushcraft master, even having obtained the honor.
- “Baptized today” is a play on words. The lake crossed to be ‘baptized’ or accepted was Lake Baptiste.