Saturday, March 16, 2013

Poems about Walking and Running: March 15, 2013


By Thomas Traherne 1637–1674 

To walk abroad is, not with eyes,

But thoughts, the fields to see and prize;

         Else may the silent feet,

                Like logs of wood,

Move up and down, and see no good

         Nor joy nor glory meet. 


Ev’n carts and wheels their place do change,

But cannot see, though very strange

         The glory that is by;

                Dead puppets may

Move in the bright and glorious day,

         Yet not behold the sky. 


And are not men than they more blind,

Who having eyes yet never find

         The bliss in which they move;

                Like statues dead

They up and down are carried

         Yet never see nor love. 


To walk is by a thought to go;

To move in spirit to and fro;

         To mind the good we see;

                To taste the sweet;

Observing all the things we meet

         How choice and rich they be.  


To note the beauty of the day,

And golden fields of corn survey;

         Admire each pretty flow’r

                With its sweet smell;

To praise their Maker, and to tell

         The marks of his great pow’r. 


To fly abroad like active bees,

Among the hedges and the trees,

         To cull the dew that lies

                On ev’ry blade,

From ev’ry blossom; till we lade

         Our minds, as they their thighs. 


Observe those rich and glorious things,

The rivers, meadows, woods, and springs,

         The fructifying sun;

                To note from far

The rising of each twinkling star

         For us his race to run. 


A little child these well perceives,

Who, tumbling in green grass and leaves,

         May rich as kings be thought,

                But there’s a sight

Which perfect manhood may delight,

         To which we shall be brought. 


While in those pleasant paths we talk,

’Tis that tow’rds which at last we walk;

         For we may by degrees

                Wisely proceed

Pleasures of love and praise to heed,

         From viewing herbs and trees.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Violin Concerto by Felix Mendelssohn (Movement II)


The Dead Man Walking

By Thomas Hardy 1840–1928


They hail me as one living,

      But don't they know

That I have died of late years,

      Untombed although?



I am but a shape that stands here,

      A pulseless mould,

A pale past picture, screening

      Ashes gone cold.  


Not at a minute's warning,

      Not in a loud hour,

For me ceased Time's enchantments

      In hall and bower. 


There was no tragic transit,

      No catch of breath,

When silent seasons inched me

      On to this death ....  


— A Troubadour-youth I rambled

      With Life for lyre,

The beats of being raging

      In me like fire.  


But when I practised eyeing

      The goal of men,

It iced me, and I perished

      A little then.  


When passed my friend, my kinsfolk,

      Through the Last Door,

And left me standing bleakly,

      I died yet more;  


And when my Love's heart kindled

      In hate of me,

Wherefore I knew not, died I

      One more degree.  


And if when I died fully

      I cannot say,

And changed into the corpse-thing

      I am to-day,  


Yet is it that, though whiling

      The time somehow

In walking, talking, smiling,

      I live not now.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Andante funebre by Johan Svendsen


Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

By Robert Frost 1874–1963 

Whose woods these are I think I know.  

His house is in the village though;  

He will not see me stopping here  

To watch his woods fill up with snow.    


My little horse must think it queer  

To stop without a farmhouse near  

Between the woods and frozen lake  

The darkest evening of the year.    


He gives his harness bells a shake  

To ask if there is some mistake.  

The only other sound’s the sweep  

Of easy wind and downy flake.    


The woods are lovely, dark and deep.  

But I have promises to keep,  

And miles to go before I sleep,  

And miles to go before I sleep.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Gute Nacht by Franz Schubert


Running Away Together

By Maxine W. Kumin b. 1925

It will be an island on strings  

well out to sea and austere  

bobbing as if at anchor

green with enormous fir trees  

formal as telephone poles.


We will arrive there slowly

hand over hand without oars.  

Last out, you will snip the fragile  

umbilicus white as a beansprout  

that sewed us into our diaries.  


We will be two bleached hermits  

at home in our patches and tears.

We will butter the sun with our wisdom.  

Our days will be grapes on a trellis  

perfectly oval and furred.  


At night we will set our poems  

adrift in ginger ale bottles  

each with a clamshell rudder  

each with a piggyback spider  

waving them off by dogstar  


and nothing will come from the mainland  

to tell us who cares, who cares

and nothing will come of our lovelock  

except as our two hearts go soft

and black as avocado pears.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Cinema Paradiso by Ennio Moriconne
A Farewell to Legs by Scott Fivelson
For audiobook, please visit
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Sergei Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 1 (Scherzo)

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