may 5/RUN

4 miles
river road, north/seabury, south/river road, south/edmund, south
48 degrees

Started my run listening to 2 male black-capped chickadees calling out to each other over and over again. Sometimes one after the other, sometimes on top of each other. I wish I could have recorded it. As they called out, I tried to remember the words to my recent poem about them. All I could think of was: “let’s do nothing—slow down/down size” and “hello? hello.”

A nice run. Forgot to greet the Welcoming Oaks as I ran by them but did notice that there were 3 or 4 cairns stacked on the ancient boulders–both the tall and short ones. In past years, there’s has only ever been one cairn stacked on the taller rock. Ran down through the tunnel of trees and checked the progress of the leaves: a full green veil. No view of the trail winding through the forest to the river. In other spots, higher up on the path, I could see brief slashes of the river through the greening trees.

Started reciting my poem of the week: Ode to My Right Knee. I struggled to pronounce “obstreperous” and had to say it a few times in my head before I got it right and could move on. Favorite lines today? I think it was: “Membrane matter-of-factly/corroding, crazed cartilage calming chipping/away as another arduous ambulation/ begins. Bone bruising bone.” Thought about how quickly I recite this poem–not franticly, but almost. Why? Is it the alliteration and how it seems shaped by the words and not any particular meter? Am I not noticing the rhythm?

After reciting the ode for a while, I decided to recite all of the other poems I’ve memorized this year. Stumbled a little in “tell all the truth but tell it slant” on the line: “As lightening to the children eased/with explanation kind”

I feel like there was something else that happened that I’m forgetting now, something that made me stop reciting for a few minutes. What was it? Oh–I remember! Running south on seabury, then the river road trail, I kept hearing this strange rubbing, almost squeaking sound. At times I thought I was causing it–a weird way I was running or some part of my jacket or ponytail brushing against my shoulder? Then I thought it might be an odd bird call or another runner’s or walker’s noisy gait. Still not sure what caused it but it was probably was me since it followed me for a lot of the time. Maybe it was my shadow? Whatever it was, it was mildly irritating.

Came across this wonderful poem about water in the collection Rose, the other day:

WATER/ Li Young-Lee

The sound of the 36 pines side by side
the years and swaying all night like
  individual humans is the sound
of water, which is the oldest sound,
the first sound we forgot.

At the ocean
my brother stands in water
to his knees, his chest bare, hard, his
thick and muscular. He is no
In water
my sister is no longer
lonely. Her right leg is crooked and
than her left, but she swims straight.
Her whole body is a glimmering fish.

Water is my father’s life-sign.
Son of water who’ll die by water,
the element which rules his life shall
  take it.
After being told by a wish man in
after almost drowning twice,
he avoided water. But the sign of
is a flowing sign, going where its
  children go.

Water has invaded my father’s
heart, swollen, heavy,
twice as large. Bloated
liver. Bloated legs.
The feet have become balloons.
A respirator mask makes him look
like a diver. When I lay my face
against his–the sound of water

The sound of washing
is the sound of sighting,
is the only sound
as I was my father’s feet—
those lonely twins
who have forgotten one another—
one by one in warm water
I tested with my wrist.
In soapy water
they’re two dumb fish
whose eyes close in a filmy dream.

I dry, then powder them
with talc rising in cluods
like dust lifting
behind jeeps, a truck where he sat
bleeding through his socks.
1949, he’s 30 years old,
his toenails pulled out,
his toes beaten a beautiful
violet that reminds him
of Hunan, barely morning
in the yard, and where
he walked, the grass springing back
damp and green.

The sound of rain
outlives us. I listen,
someone is whispering.
Tonight, it’s water
the curtains resemble, water
drumming on the steel cellar door,
we crossed to come to America,
water I’ll cross to go back,
water which will kill my father.
The sac of water we live in.

Last year, I posted another poem by Li Young-Lee, “From Blossoms.” Such a wonderful poet! What a great opening stanza. I’d definitely like to add that to lines I’ve memorized:

The sound of the 36 pines side by side
the years and swaying all night like
  individual humans is the sound
of water, which is the oldest sound,
the first sound we forgot.

I have started to acquire many wonderful poems about water. Maybe in June, in honor of what should be the start of Open Swim, I’ll memorize a series of water poems. This one, and one by Ed Bok Lee, one by May Swenson, and one by Maxine Kumin. I might have a few more too.