april 21/RUN

3.7 miles
47th ave loop, short
34 degrees
Deaths from COVID-19: 160 (MN)/ 42,458 (US)

Sunny and bright. Looked down at the river and noticed it sparkling. Encountered a few runners and walkers and bikers. Heard some birds–a few geese, a woodpecker, some cardinals. Noticed a wild turkey hanging out in someone’s front yard–on Edmund, across from the tree graveyard. Nice! Always a good day when I see a wild turkey in the neighborhood. Here’s some turkeys that Scott and I saw on our walk on Saturday:

Recited the poem I memorized this week, Emily Dickinson’s “It’s all I have to bring today.” Kept noticing how awkward the second line was as I tried to keep my running rhythm while I said it in my head. Reading the prowling bee’s analysis, I realized it’s because every other line follows an iambic meter–da dum/da dum da/dum da dum or unstressed stressed/unstressed stressed–but the second line is strange: THIS and my HEART BEside–at least that’s how I hear it. “and my HEART” is an anapest (unstressed unstressed stressed). Found this basic description:

This poem consists of two four-line stanzas of ballad meter. In most of her poem,┬áDickinson┬átypically uses ballad meter, which consists of four-line stanzas (or quatrains) of iambic tetrameter alternating with iambic trimeter: the syllable count of the four lines is therefore 8, 6, 8, 6. Ballad meter is similar to common meter, which is the meter of many Protestant hymns, such as “Amazing Grace.” In common meter the first and third lines of each stanza rhyme as do the second and fourth, making the rhyme scheme ABAB. Common meter also tends to be strictly metrical because it forms the basis of hymns sung in church. However, because Dickinson tends to rhyme only the second and fourth lines of each stanza (resulting in a rhyme scheme of ABCB) and is less strictly metrical, it is more accurate to say she uses ballad meter.

For some reason, I often struggle to recognize meter and to identify when syllables are unstressed or stressed. Not sure why. Slowly, I’m learning the terms–like tetrameter (4 feet) and trimeter (3 feet). I like thinking about this in relation to my running rhythms. Which rhythms work best for me? Which ones get me in a good groove, make running easier or faster or more fun? I’m not sure if the ballad works. I should experiment with it more. I’m also thinking about how breath fits into all of this. On easy runs, I might breathe every 4 or 3, on harder runs, every 2. How does breathing shape these lines? How does breath work in Dickinson? Here’s a source: The Breath of Emily Dickinson’s Dashes

After reciting Dickinson’s poem dozen of times, I decided to return to Richard Siken’s “LOVESONG FOR THE SQUARE ROOT OF NEGATIVE ONE.” For some reason, I enjoyed reciting it more than the Dickinson. Was it because there were more words, more ideas, more rhythms to untangle? Possibly.

Yesterday, I encountered the opening lines from this poem and was delighted. I’d like to memorize at least the first few stanzas, but maybe all of it.


A Monodrama

Come into the garden, Maud, 
      For the black bat, night, has flown, 
Come into the garden, Maud, 
      I am here at the gate alone; 
And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad, 
      And the musk of the rose is blown. 

   For a breeze of morning moves, 
      And the planet of Love is on high, 
Beginning to faint in the light that she loves 
      In a bed of daffodil sky, 
To faint in the light of the sun she loves, 
      To faint in his light, and to die. 

   All night have the roses heard 
      The flute, violin, bassoon; 
All night has the casement jessamine stirr’d 
      To the dancers dancing in tune; 
Till a silence fell with the waking bird, 
      And a hush with the setting moon. 

   I said to the lily, “There is but one 
      With whom she has heart to be gay. 
When will the dancers leave her alone? 
      She is weary of dance and play.” 
Now half to the setting moon are gone, 
      And half to the rising day; 
Low on the sand and loud on the stone 
      The last wheel echoes away. 

   I said to the rose, “The brief night goes 
      In babble and revel and wine. 
O young lord-lover, what sighs are those, 
      For one that will never be thine? 
But mine, but mine,” so I sware to the rose, 
      “For ever and ever, mine.” 

   And the soul of the rose went into my blood, 
      As the music clash’d in the hall; 
And long by the garden lake I stood, 
      For I heard your rivulet fall 
From the lake to the meadow and on to the wood, 
      Our wood, that is dearer than all; 

   From the meadow your walks have left so sweet 
      That whenever a March-wind sighs 
He sets the jewel-print of your feet 
      In violets blue as your eyes, 
To the woody hollows in which we meet 
      And the valleys of Paradise. 

   The slender acacia would not shake 
      One long milk-bloom on the tree; 
The white lake-blossom fell into the lake 
      As the pimpernel dozed on the lea; 
But the rose was awake all night for your sake, 
      Knowing your promise to me; 
The lilies and roses were all awake, 
      They sigh’d for the dawn and thee. 

   Queen rose of the rosebud garden of girls, 
      Come hither, the dances are done, 
In gloss of satin and glimmer of pearls, 
      Queen lily and rose in one; 
Shine out, little head, sunning over with curls, 
      To the flowers, and be their sun. 

   There has fallen a splendid tear 
      From the passion-flower at the gate. 
She is coming, my dove, my dear; 
      She is coming, my life, my fate; 
The red rose cries, “She is near, she is near;” 
      And the white rose weeps, “She is late;” 
The larkspur listens, “I hear, I hear;” 
      And the lily whispers, “I wait.” 

   She is coming, my own, my sweet; 
      Were it ever so airy a tread, 
My heart would hear her and beat, 
      Were it earth in an earthy bed; 
My dust would hear her and beat, 
      Had I lain for a century dead, 
Would start and tremble under her feet, 
      And blossom in purple and red.