Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


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April Rain Song

Come what may, let us enjoy our runs in April.

April Rain Song

Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.

Langston Hughes

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Laps on St. Pat’s

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

To celebrate the part-Irishness of my husband and son, I did wear green today.  I find that people who don’t know me are a bit surprised to discover that my son is part Irish.  As a tribute to this Irishness, I seek out shamrock shaped dishes and collect shamrock tea cups although not Beleek tea cups as they cost far more than I want to pay.  We visited the Beleek factory when we visited Ireland and came away empty handed as the Canadian dollar did not buy much.

I joined the U of T workout today and attendance was about one-third of last week.  Could it be the lure of a good old Irish pub and a tankard of Guiness? Well none for me today, or tomorrow but I will republish a favourite photo taken at the Guiness factory.

As for the run I was pleased to do 10 X 200 metres in 42-46 seconds per lap. We did some amazingly hard stair exercises of hopping from step to step on the same leg! Give that a try and see what you think. It didn’t help that the stairs were concrete.  I’m gonna get faster but it will take time.

It has been a troubling week for the world so instead of the “may the wind be at your back” poem I’ll conclude with this provocative Yeats offering.

The Second Coming
by W. B. Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


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The Long Way Home

Due to the promise of 6C in the afternoon I decided to skip my usual morning run, and run home from work.  I am now in the enviable position of living one mile from where I work and just loving the quality of life that comes with it.  But, it does mean that this run involved a 6 mile detour.  The direction of the detour was dictated by the wind from the southeast. 

Life on a Lake Ontario Ice Floe

Steps from work, is a path that is part of my route from home so it was south to the lake and then a right turn west with a bit of a tailwind. While not as warm as I had hoped, it felt great to end the workday running along the lake and then through High Park and home for a total of 7 miles. 

This winter reminds me of living in Ottawa where one inevitably lost memory of what spring is like by the end of it.  In spite of this taste of spring, I’m finding it hard to imagine running in shorts and a singlet.

Excerpt from . . . To Spring   Willam Blake

Come o’er the eastern hills, and let our winds
Kiss thy perfumèd garments; let us taste
Thy morn and evening breath; scatter thy pearls
Upon our lovesick land that mourns for thee.


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100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day

Hear what Joan Benoit Samuelson, two years my junior, has to say about growing up as a runner, as Title IX introduced in 1972 opened up a “myriad” of opportunities for women in the U.S. Joan Benoit is the winner of the first Olympic marathon for women held in Los Angeles in 1984.

Wanting to be able to
by: Piet Hein

“Impossibilities” are good
not to attach that label to;
since, correctly understood,
if we wanted to, we would
be able to.


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Challenges to Young Poets, (Bloggers and Runners)

“Challenges To Young Poets, (Bloggers and Runners)” With apologies to Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Ideas, inspirations, and starting points for poets, as proposed by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the poet laureate of San Francisco with my additions and very slight changes in italics.

Climb or run up the Statue of Liberty.

Reach for the unattainable.

Dance or run with wolves and count the stars, including the unseen.

Be naive, innocent, non-cynical, as if you had just landed on earth (as indeed you have, as indeed we all have), astonished by what you have fallen upon.

Write living newspapers.  Be a reporter from outer space, filing dispatches to some supreme managing editor who believes in full disclosure and has a low tolerance level for hot air.

Read between the lines of human discourse.

Avoid the provincial, go for the universal.

Think subjectively, write objectively.

Think long thoughts in short sentences.

Don’t attend poetry or running workshops, but if you do, don’t go to learn ‘how to” but to learn “what” (What’s important to write about).

Don’t bow down to critics who have not themselves written great masterpieces or have run masterfully.

Resist much, obey less.

Secretly liberate any being you see in a cage.

Write short poems in the voice of birds. Make your lyrics truly lyrical. Birdsong is not made by machines. Give your poems wings to fly to the treetops.

The much-quoted dictum from William Carlos Williams, “No ideas but in things,” is OK for prose, but it lays a dead hand on lyricism, since “things” are dead.

Don’t contemplate your navel in poetry and while running and think the rest of the world is going to think it’s important.

Remember everything, forget nothing.

Work on a frontier, if you can find one.

Go to sea, or work near water, and paddle your own boat.

Associate with thinking poets and runners. They’re hard to find.

Cultivate dissidence and critical thinking. “First thought, best thought” may not make for the greatest poetry. First thought may be worst thought.

What’s on your mind? What do you have in mind? Open your mouth and stop mumbling.

Don’t be so open-minded that your brains fall out.

Question everything and everyone. Be subversive, constantly questioning reality and the status quo.

Be a poet, not a huckster. Don’t cater, don’t pander, especially not to possible audiences, readers, editors, or publishers.

Come out of your closet. It’s dark in there.

Raise the blinds, throw open your shuttered windows, raise the roof, unscrew the locks from the doors, but don’t throw away the screws.

Be committed to something outside yourself. Be militant about it. Or ecstatic.

To be a poet at sixteen is to be sixteen, to be a poet at 40 is to be a poet. Be both.

To be strong at sixteen is to be sixteen, to be healthy at 50 is a to have good genes, good luck and good habits.

Wake up and pee, the world’s on fire.

Have a nice day.

First read at the 17th Annual San Francisco High School Poetry Festival, February 3, 2001

My first exposure to Ferlinghetti was in a grade nine art class where we read from Coney Island of the Mind and did drawings inspired by these poems.  I also recall creating a giant papier mache pizza a la Claus Oldenberg.

City Lights, a must see when in San Francisco

During our short 1 1/2 day stay in San Francisco earlier this month we visited City Lights Bookstore which was co-founded by Ferlinghetti.

Wishing you a Happy New Year filled with poetry, running and blogging or whatever you like to do for FUN!

Purchasing Nox, by Canadian poet Anne Carson

Extensive Beat literature and poetry section


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Christmas eve greeting

Cradle Song

Sweet dreams, form a shade
O’er my lovely infant’s head!
Sweet dreams of pleasant streams
By happy, silent, moony beams!
Sweet Sleep, with soft down
Weave thy brows an infant crown!
Sweet Sleep, angel mild,
Hover o’er my happy child!

Sweet smiles, in the night
Hover over my delight!
Sweet smiles, mother’s smiles,
All the livelong night beguiles.

Sweet moans, dovelike sighs,
Chase not slumber from thy eyes!
Sweet moans, sweeter smiles,
All the dovelike moans beguiles.

Sleep, sleep, happy child!
All creation slept and smiled.
Sleep, sleep, happy sleep,
While o’er thee thy mother weep.

Sweet babe, in thy face
Holy image I can trace;
Sweet babe, once like thee
Thy Maker lay, and wept for me:

Wept for me, for thee, for all,
When He was an infant small.
Thou His image ever see,
Heavenly face that smiles on thee!

Smiles on thee, on me, on all,
Who became an infant small;
Infant smiles are His own smiles;
Heaven and earth to peace beguiles.

William Blake

I dedicate this favourite poem for a Christmas Eve to newest nephew Zack, little Henry and nine year old Tigist Dallesa who lives in Ethiopia. You can read more about Henry on his mom’s blog Fit ‘n’Frugal and check out the recipe for carrot cake oatmeal.

Sweet dreams all!

Henry's first Christmas!


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A calorie burned is a calorie earned – for a treat!

I consider myself fortunate that within one block of my house, on opposite corners, stand a YMCA and Starbucks.  Two or three times a week, following my run, I lift upper and lower body weights at the YMCA and then walk across the street to treat myself to what I call the “fatty latty”, a triple-venti-vanilla-whole-milk latte.  Nothing beats the satisfaction of strolling home over that last block, workout done, sipping on my latte.

At most times, I’m not the best role model of healthy eating as I burn a lot of calories daily and am able to afford to spend a few of them on treats.  One of my favourite treats, is pictured here . . .

poutine "the works"

Meal replacment

Yes, poutine is my  junk food of choice.  My mom turned me on to something called “The Works” a New York Fries special, a poutine variant which in addition to the usual fries, gravy and cheese curds has chili, sour cream, bacon bits and green onions.  I know, I know . . . you can feel the heart attack coming on but exercise and low body weight is a great cholesterol regulator.   The poutine pictured here was ordered and quickly consumed by yours truly, very recently at Ann’s Cafe in Richard’s Landing, St. Joseph’s Island which is about 50k east of Sault Ste. Marie.

The weeks when I eat most healthily are the 3 weeks preceding a marathon when I am tapering i.e. reducing my training volume and reducing my body weight by 5-6 pounds to lighten the load for the 26.2 mile marathon trek.

Lattes at the Ezra Pound

Getting back to coffee, my husband and I do try to diversify our coffee intake and recently tried the Ezra Pound on Dupont Street.  In homage to its (mad and fascist) namesake, the EP  has a poetry vending machine dispensing poems for a toonie, a project of Toronto Poetry Vendors (TPV).  There is poetry on this blog at the HEART and WORDS pages.

Poetry

Click on this to read!

poetry

Poetry Vending Machine

poetry

Poem Packet $2.00