Water (more an essay than a poem, truth be told) 

      Water is a necessity of life. And though the magazine Life may have made a big splash when it took a dive a while ago, water continues to flow. Water comes in many shapes: there’s a cup of water, a glass of water, a pitcher of water and Tumwater. There are waterfalls, lakes of water, rivers of water and the many waters. And though you may not be a lumberjack, you could still get waterlogged rather easily in a downpour. Speaking of reign, King Henry VIII was sprinkled with water before his reign of almost 40 years, though it was not called “reign water,” but holy water. Other types of water are not so holy. For instance, even if your name is not Lou, you may have to face your Waterloo. And while one man’s Waterloo may be another man’s Watergate, it is surely true that people with water on the knee are better off than those with water on the brain. On the other hand, water should be at least as deep as the brain for a decent swim. Some people like to swim so much that they play water polo, leaving their polo ponies out of the pool. I once wore a polo shirt that had a high-water mark; and while Mark is certainly a high-water mark of the Gospels, he was only Luke-warm about storms at sea. Indoor Johns also require water to function and might be called “head” waters. The headwaters of the Sacramento are known to us all, though at times they may leave us high and dry.

      If we say a man went to a watery grave, we don’t necessarily mean that the water-table was too high, though a water-bed can be. And though you may never have eaten at a water-table, you would certainly be able to drink your fill. While the average artist does not enjoy drawing water, even using watercolors (such as aqua), the caption of the Titanic appreciated drawing water even less. And though that was no bugler present on the Titanic to play Taps, certainly there were water taps aboard. While the cruise was designed to be a shake-down, it turned out to be watered down. And though many passengers were clearly “in the money,” they also ended up in the water.

      It must be admitted, however, that there are many ways of getting your feet wet, not the least of which are waterways, and though someone may give you the works, it’s doubtful they’ll give you the waterworks. It’s also doubtful you have ever cross-country skied on water skis, though there is a lot of water across the country. Certainly you should be able to get farther and higher on water skis than on a water bottle; just how far or how high depends on what’s in the water bottle, of course. All of which goes to prove that seasoned sailors in polite company are like gourmets: they know how to hold their water.


      - RdH (1975)