annie young meadow and back
The perfect temperature for a spring run. The light looked strange. Filtered through trees, clouds, haze? it looked almost pink or light orangish-pink. I liked it. Everything, everywhere thick with green.
note, 19 may, 2023: talked with Scott and RJP about the strange light, which has continued: forest fires
I greeted the Welcoming Oaks and good morninged Mr. Morning! and another regular — did I ever name him? Maybe it was Mr. Holiday?
I chanted in triple berries to keep a steady rhythm — strawberry blueberry raspberry — and tried to stop thinking or noticing anything, to just be on the path, moving and breathing. What did I notice anyway?
10 Things I Noticed When I Wasn’t Noticing
- 2 stones stacked on the ancient boulder
- down in the flats, the river was moving fast. I tried to race it
- white foam on the river, under the I-94 bridge I thought (or hoped?) it was a rowing shell
- a fat tire bike sped down the franklin hill, abruptly turned at annie young meadow and almost ran into a parked car, then called out to the guy in the car — his friend — Hey!
- the bucket of a big crane curled under the franklin bridge with a worker in it, studying the underside of the bridge
- a guy walking on edmund in a bright yellow vest, no other vest wearers or official vehicles in sight
- a runner coming down the other franklin hill — the one near the dog park — then entering the river road trail 25 yards? ahead of me
- smell: pot, down in the flats
- a woman stopped at the edge of the trail, looking through a camera lens at a tree on the other side of the road. I thought about calling out, what’s in the tree?, but didn’t
- the weeds on the edge of the trail, poking out of cracks in the asphalt looked monstrous — now I can’t remember what I thought they were at first, just not weeds
- bonus: a turkey! chilling in the grassy boulevard between edmund and the river road
I don’t really remember what I heard as I ran without headphones toward franklin. After stopping 3/4 of the way up the hill to walk, I put in music. I thought I put in Lizzo’s Special but I must have forgot to tap something because when I hit the play button it was Dear Evan Hansen again. Oh well.
Mary Ruefle, “Madness, Rack, and Honey”
Last night during Scott’s community jazz band rehearsal, after our regular community band rehearsal, when I sit for an hour and try to read or write or think about my poetry, I started Ruefle’s titular lecture (is that the correct way to use titular?). Now, after my run, I’m back at it again. This lecture is a chewy bagel and I’m determined to not spend too much time on it.
The title is strange — what does she mean by madness, rack, and honey? — and I was pleased to discover that she devotes the lecture to explaining the title. She begins with a Persian poem:
I shall not finish my poem.
What I have written is so sweet
The flies are beginning to torment me.
It is so simple and clear: the “figurative” sweetness of the author’s verse has become honey, causing “literal” flies to swarm on the page or in around the autor’s ead. This is turly the Word made flesh, the fictive made real, water into wine. That is the honey of poetry: the miracle of its transformation, which is that of creation: once there was a blank page–scary!–now there is something in its place that is attracting flies. Anyone who has not experienced the joy, pleasure, transport, and who has not experienced the joy, pleasure, transport, and sweetness of writing poems has not written poems.pages 130-131
Enter the flies who feast. For teh poem clearly reminds us that honey has complications–those flies are beginning to torment the poet. Torment, pain, torture, is what I mean by the rack.page 134
It is what poetry does to the world, what poets do with words, and what words will do to a poet. And that’s the rack of it. And if you have never experienced the rack while working on a poem then you have have never worked on a poem. Have you never put language in an extenuating circumstance with dangerous limits until an acute physical sensation results?page 135
And, if I have time, I’ll return for madness later today.
One more thing to post before I go eat lunch. Instead of posting the poem, which I also like, I’m only posting the poet’s explanation of it.
About This Poem (Evening)
“Sometimes you hear a word as if for the first time, a word you’ve been saying your whole life. I don’t know what in the brain allows the word, in that moment, to reveal itself, but it always makes me feel very smart and very foolish at once. This poem was written during the period when I had just gotten into gardening and was gaining a new appreciation for everything—food, nature, and time. I wonder what else is waiting to reveal itself to me in such a way, and whether I’ll be distracted enough to receive it.”
Now I’m thinking of the opening lines from Marie Howe’s “The Meadow”: As we walk into words that have waited for us to enter them…is this idea of walking into words similar to words (and new meanings) revealing themselves to us? As I write this question, I’m reminded of a Mary Ruefle piece in My Private Property: “In the Forest”
When I wander in the forest I am drawn towards language, I see meaning is quaintly hidden, shooting up in dark wet woods, by roots of trees, old walls, among dead leaves…page 74
And these lines helped me to remember a thought I had as I ran this morning on the part of the pedestrian path that dips below the bike path, the two separated by a slight rise and some bushes. When I first started to run this trail, almost 10 years ago, I was a little afraid of taking this lower trail. It was hidden from the road and other people and I wondered if someone might be lurking, waiting for me. Today I thought, how could I have been afraid of this short part of the path, only hidden from view for a few seconds? It does seem ridiculous.