Writing this entry almost an hour after my run, it’s sunny, but when I was out by the gorge it was overcast, with some mist or fog or some kind of moisture hanging in the air. Barely any wind. Calm, quiet, peaceful. I thought about the haunting poems I’m working on, and tried to forget Omicron. Just a few days ago, I wasn’t too concerned about this new variant. Without enough data, it’s too early for that. But, even though intellectually and emotionally (at least, I thought) I wasn’t stressed about it, my body has decided to have a mild sinus flair-up. Some pressure in my face/cheeks, a ticklish, scratchy throat. It’s not debilitating, just uncomfortable and distracting. Is this caused by anxiety over this new variant? Possibly. I’m trying to avoid twitter, facebook, and any online news in the hopes that it will calm me down.
Back to the poems I’m working on. Before heading out the door, I gave myself 2 questions to ponder: Who are the ghosts, the dead or the living? Does it depend on how you see (understand, think about, imagine) it? These questions were partly inspired by some lines from Ed Bok Lee in “Halos” that I’m using as an epigraph:
How else, when blinded by life,
would I remember:
to the dead, we’re the ghosts.
When I first read these lines, I was confused by them. I still am, but they seem to fit with how my sequence of poems on haunts/haunting/haunted play around with who is being haunted and who is doing the haunting. I like the idea of not resolving this question and letting both answers be possible at any given time, or at specific times. Sometimes the living are the ghosts, sometimes it’s the dead. I also like the idea of not spelling out what that means, but presenting images that complicate it. Running on the east side of the river, with a gray, mostly sunless sky, I encountered such an image: a pale, still river reflecting a fully formed, clear inverted trestle bridge in the water. Marveling at it, I wondered, which bridge is real, the one that’s right side up or the one upside down? As I continued to look at the water, I noticed fully formed trees, the lake street bridge, and clouds also reflected in the water. Very cool.
This images reminds me of May Swenson’s wonderful poem, Water Picture. Here’s an excerpt:
In the pond in the park
all things are doubled:
Long buildings hang and
wriggle gently. Chimneys
are bent legs bouncing
on clouds below. A flag
wags like a fishhook
down there in the sky.
The arched stone bridge
is an eye, with underlid
in the water. In its lens
dip crinkled heads with hats
that don’t fall off. Dogs go by,
barking on their backs.
10 Things I Noticed
- 4 stones stacked on the ancient boulder
- the clicking and clacking of ski poles as a roller skier approached from somewhere I couldn’t see
- running past the old stone steps: a clear, beautiful view of the forest floor and the trail that winds through bare tree trunks to reach the river
- the dark brown dirt of the Winchell Trail below me as I neared Franklin
- the folding table set up at the White Sands Beach far below me
- puddles on the franklin bridge — no ice, only standing water
- the ancient boulder on the east side of the river never has any stones stacked on it. Is that because its top isn’t flat enough?
- the fence panel that was removed a month or so ago, has been replaced and now, it’s hard to remember (or easy to forget) that it was ever missing
- looking down at the the part of the winchell trail that goes under the lake street bridge: the dirt is not a dark brown, but lighter, more yellow, almost like spicy brown mustard
- running north on the west side of the river road: car headlights approaching me through the trees
One more thing: I was able to greet both Dave, the Daily Walker and Mr. Morning! — that’s the name I came up with right now for the walker I’ve been seeing lately who likes to greet me with an enthusiastic, “morning!” I think he wears a darker blue coat, a stocking cap, and sunglasses. Mr. Morning! I love it.
I love how poets.org has an “about this poem” for each poem of the day. The one for today’s poem (from “The Book of Absence”) is very fitting for what I’m working on with my haunting poems:
About this Poem:
This is not poetry. This is a reading of the moment. Read it in the moment and pass on. Do not linger. Go. We don’t go to places. We go from places. We are dedicated to going, not staying. In going, we fade away. Consider my poetry as if you are walking down a road. Someone calls your name. You turn your head. There is nobody around. The road is deserted. Empty. You tell yourself somebody must have been there. But there is no one. Consider my poetry like that moment.”source
—Alireza Roshan, translated by Erfan Mojib and Gary Gach