Friday, July 23, 2004

Morning on Capital Crescent Trail - Washington D.C.

A roller blader
Swishes around me.
Close on his heels 
(Or rather, on his wheels) 
A bicyclist circles past, 
Cutting a wide swath, 
Followed by a jogger 
Lean and tall. 
Youthful, all – everyone 

Except me. 
Out of my class, 
Old and slow. 
Suck in stomach muscles 
Just to show 
That I too am fit; 
I too am hale; 
I too am worthy 
Of the Crescent Trail. 

Around a bend 
Yet another jogger comes. 
Approaches with jowls jiggling 
Like jelly. 
Jelly-jiggling jowls. 
And what’s more, 
He leads with his belly. 

Footfalls pounding, 
A woman on the run 
Pushes a baby stroller 
Fast in front of her. 
The boy child 
Buckled securely there 
Bounces in his sleep 
And dances unaware 
A wild fandango. 

Next: three hefty women.
Flesh-wobbling women, all three
Amateurs, at a glance I can see
Who know nothing of
Power-walking regimen,
But chatter and chatter,
Thinking it doesn’t matter
That their unsupported bosoms
Bobble and dance.

On this erstwhile railroad site,
I see now a tunnel loom.
Its bricks, black with age,
Prophesy age’s ultimate doom.
I shiver and look up high.
Are those vampire bats
Hanging there from ceiling’s arch?
Or is it just the absurdity
Of my imagination’s perfidy?

Back in daylight again,
I see that the sun,
Through leaves of the trees,
Is strewing lacy shadows
Across my path.
And the morning breeze
Cleaned fresh by last night’s rain,
Stirs a Muse of sorts
Within my brain.

O, Muse
Hark, then!
This shall I do:
I shall make a poem for you.
I shall write it now,
Without fail,
And I shall call it
Morning on Capital Crescent Trail

Good, Better, Best

(Thoughts upon reading Mother, Summer, I  by Phillip Larkin)

When young, she cringed at lightening

And thunder claps that rocked the sky.

While I, delighting in them so,

Longed for her to grow 

To love them as much as I.

Come with me, I would say,

To the window-lined sunroom,

Where we will watch Nature play,

And together see the flash and boom

Of God’s own fireworks display.

Lightening in jagged sheets

Illuminated the backyard trees.

Their branches swayed in wind and rain.

And I taught her to count the beats

Before the thunder crashes came.

So I would hug her tightly and say,

Oh, isn’t this such fun!

And looking up and nodding all the while,

She would give me her sweet smile.

So I thought my mission won.

Now she is grown and I am old,

And her story can be told.

I thought myself constructive.

She says, Not so.  Rather, destructive. 

Storms, to this day it seems, she abhors.

But not me, my love, I say with rue,

Not me you loathe, I pray.

Oh no! she hurries to attest,

One thing I always knew:

For me you ever tried to do your best.