july 8/RUN

2.75 miles
43rd ave, north/32nd st, east/river road, north/river road, south/edmund, south
77 degrees
humidity: 80%/ dew point: 70

If you would have told me last year that I’d be regularly running in dew points of 70 or so, I wouldn’t have believed you. But, the dew point has been 70 (highest was 75) for the past 2 weeks (well, one day it was 69), and I have run every day. Ran by the aspen eyes, under the lake street bridge, up the hill, then back down it. Encountered lots of runners, bikers, walkers. Crowded this morning. Remember hearing at least one black capped chickadee. At the start of my run I encountered several annoyingly spazzy squirrels, darting in front of me. There was a big cf on edmund–one person on the sidewalk, one person in the road, another person with a dog on the other side of the road. Had to run up someone’s grass to keep my distance. Didn’t see the river or hear any rowers.

As I ran, I recited “Memorizing ‘The Sun Rising'”/ Billy Collins. Yesterday, I recited the first half, today the whole thing. Didn’t think about the meaning of any of the lines, just tried to make sure I got the words right. Favorite stanza today?

So it’s not until leaving the house
and walking three times around this hidden lake
that the poem showed
any interest in walking by my side.

I like the idea of the poem deciding whether or not it wants to spend time with the person memorizing/reciting it. I also like how the line is walking three times around this hidden lake instead of walking around this hidden lake three times.

The line I probably struggled with the most was, “better than the courteous dominion.” I couldn’t remember courteous or dominion; my mind was blank. I remember this happening as I ran and fumbling around for many seconds trying to think of what the phrase was. All of sudden it came to me like a flash or an image that, even as I stare intently and it’s right in front of me, I can’t see it at all until suddenly I can. How strange and marvelous the brain is to magically retrieve words! A few hours after returning from my run, I sat down and recorded myself reciting the poem. A bit rough, as I struggled with a few lines. I managed to record myself struggling and then successfully remembering the courteous dominion line.

Memorizing “The Sun Rising” by John Donne, July 8

I’d like to figure out a metaphor or simile for that moment of remembering. In “Memorizing” Billy Collins describes the act of forgetting — “begin to fade like sky-written letters on a windy day”– and having forgotten — “a blown-out candle now, a wavering line of acrid smoke” — but he doesn’t have a equivalent one for remembering. I suppose he does have one for fully remembering and taking in the poem: “after hours of stepping up and down the poem,/testing the plank of every line,/it goes with me now, contracted into a little spot within.” But this doesn’t quite get at the revelatory moment of remembering. I’ll work on it some more. I wonder if I can find some other poems that express it?