Poets Walk: "never learned"
Location on Poets Walk Map: 42
Albert Einstein Sails by Gary Lehmann
He never learned to swim,
and uncoordinated as he was, he sometimes capsized.
Yet, he refused to wear a life jacket.
It was his way of making dinghy sailing a real sport.
On a pond near Princeton, he hoist sail as often as he could,
a notebook and pencil poised in his pocket.
He balanced the pressure of the wind against the current,
drift, yaw, and set of the boat to plot a course.
Yet, no days were more enjoyable than those when he ran aground,
forced to contemplate the vectors in the spinning universe that
urge a photon of light to spiral forward, shoot off, or stand still.
Hardly a sail went by that he did not make some notes.
He sailed to lose himself in thought, just let the winds take him.
He was not interested in speed or competition.
Sometimes his mind drifted back to his cottage at Caputh
where he used to sail the dinghy Tummler for endless hours.
Gary Lehmann, "Albert Einstein Sails" from Public Life & Private Secrets (Foothills, 2005). Used by permission of the author.