“The Oarsman’s Song”
The willowy sway of the hands away and the water boiling aft,
The elastic spring and the steely fling that drives the flying craft.
The steely spring and the musical ring of the blade with the biting grip,
And the stretching draw of the bending oar that rounds the turn with a whip.
And the lazy float that runs the boat, and makes the swing quite true,
And gives that rest that the oarsman blest as he drives the blade right through.
All through the swing he hears the boat sing as she glides on her flying track,
And he gathers aft to strike the craft with a ringing bell-note crack.
From stretcher to oar with drive and draw, he speeds the boat along.
All whalebone and steel and a willowy feel…that is the oarsman’s song.
Steve Fairbairn On Rowing – The Complete Series by Rowperfect – Peter Mallory and Steve Fairbairn