36th to 42nd to 36th
dew point: 57
It’s going to be another hot one today. Already before 8 it’s 70 degrees. Surprisingly, it didn’t bother me that much. A nice run near the river road. Green and shady. Was able to glance over at my shadow a few times. She was running beside me today. Don’t remember hearing any birds just a few random people and hovering helicopters to the south. I wonder what’s happening? Briefly thought about running on the tunnel of trees trail but then decided I didn’t want to risk getting that close to another runner or walker. Not sure if I’ll ever get down there this year.
Right now, I have two poems I recently memorized that I want to think about while I run: Carl Sandburg’s “Doors” and Mary Oliver’s “Praying.” Decided to recite “Doors” for the first half of the run, “Praying” for the second half.
I noticed the rhythm more. I like how the line, “Shadows and ghosts go through shut doors”–partly because the rhyme of go through with the previous line’s “who are you” and partly because he begins with shadows (shadows and ghosts) instead of ghosts (ghosts and shadows). It sounds much better this way to me. Also thought about the use of shut instead of closed for the doors that aren’t open. Shut is a much firmer, sharper, stronger sound than closed.
As I recited Praying I thought about how simple and beautiful it is as a statement about paying attention. In her book Long Life Oliver talks about her poems as little alleluias. In one of my chapbooks, I turned her explanation into a tanka:
on the page that’s what these poems are
not trying to
explain anything just here
breathing and offering thanks
Oliver’s poem is a little alleluia. Nothing elaborate, intended to be mined for hidden meaning, but an offering of thanks. A prayer to be repeated and lived and remembered. This fits with her own language in the poem–“this is not a contest”. Yes! I love the idea of writing for these reasons and not about being elaborate or clever or deep. I think I’d like to recite a series of poem on the idea of joy, delight, and thanks. (I have too many ideas and not enough little gray cells to devote to them!)
I also love her image of the doorway here–a doorway into thanks. I’ve been thinking about doors as possibility in general terms, but haven’t thought specifically and concretely about them-what doorways does moving and paying attention and reading/writing/breathing poetry give me and where do those doorways lead–into what?
After finishing my run, as I was walking back, I recited both poems into my phone. There were a few minor errors in the Oliver that I need to work on: