Friday, May 16, 2008

Poetry Friday: Run


The neckline is faux-torn,
which is embarrassing.
The stitched Nike logo
puckers the tissue-weight
white fabric. It hasn't held
up well. I laugh---each time---
at myself for buying it.
I put it on.

I hook my running
shoes by the dingy heel cuffs,
swinging them off the shoe rack.
I clip my bite-sized iPod Shuffle
to my flimsy shirt.
I pony-tail my hair.

I stick my mouth sideways
into the pelting tap water,
slurping what I should have
consumed instead of three
cups of coffee. I leave
the house.

I lock the door. I put my key into
the pocket that lies flat
against my back.
I pull down my shades.

I have already walked
the dog. It is hot. There is
a breeze. Men are building
a new house right in front
of me. I have nowhere
to go.

I'm only running,
running, running,
up this slow, endless hill
in the middle of the day
because there is music
in my ears, my legs
do what I say, and
I am savagely

----Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)

Listen to me read this poem.

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Two Writing Teachers.


  1. What a fantastic poem. I love the phrase "savagely grateful" -- such a powerful way to put the feeling.

    I am not a runner, but am still able to relate to the actions and emotions in this poem, and I thank you for sharing it!

  2. Hee! Faux torn necklines!

    What a lovely sentiment, though. Your legs do what you say, and so you run them in appreciation. It makes even me want to run. Gorgeous.

  3. I love the drinking from the pelting tap water, slurping what you should have been drinking. I see the dedication to this and feel the heat in the middle of the day. Thank you.

  4. Oh, lordy. Nowhere to go and running running running. Savagely grateful for YOU, Ms. Holmes...

  5. All the details are so exact. It's wonderful.

    It brings back my running days (before my hips rebelled). I remember once in the early morning, below zero, running along and thinking "This is insane. The only reason on earth I'm doing this is that it's a habit." But I was glad to be there.

  6. I'm not a runner, or even an exerciser - but I love the poem. My favorite line is "pony-tail my hair." I never thought of it as a verb before but I Like It. Has a little JunieB./Clementine made-up word thing going on.

  7. Love that ending. Perfect for the anthology my friend, Shannon, and I have been meaning to publish for yeeeears now -- an anthology of poems about gratitude. We're just really slow. I'll have to send that to him.


  8. Wonderful specifics. I'm right there. I like the interior scape paralleling physical movement. Bravo!

  9. Sarah, you have to run for those of us who are glued to the computers today because of laziness, er, make that rain.

    I liked the poem. I will remember to feel grateful for something today, too. Gracias.

  10. I agree with Jenny and others that the phrase "savagely grateful" is killer. Well done.

  11. Wow. You just write the most gorgeous poems ever...

  12. Sara,

    I love this poem from start to finish--it's so visual. I can see you running in my mind.

  13. Sara,
    My sister would appreciate this poem and have a huge applause towards the "savagely grateful." She's been in a wheelchair for over three years now and is sad when people, like me, don't take such good care of themselves. Thanks for the push. ;-)

  14. Thanks, each of you. I'm happy my poem found some resonance with runners and non-runners alike.

    I'm not actually a big runner, but I do it on days when I feel restless, or only have a short time to get the exercise thing done.

    What's interesting is that this poem almost didn't get written. It was soooo trivial when I first started writing it that the naysayers in my head wanted to shut it down. Luckily, I don't listen to them any more.

    And the run I'm referencing here wasn't a particularly good one, either---I had a stitch in my side almost the whole way back. But I couldn't shake the marvelous idea that running, for those moments, was an offering to the day.

  15. I'm glad you stayed with it, Sara. It's that move from the outward (the clothing) to the inward (the gratitude) that gives the poem power. Very Billy Collins, if you ask me!

  16. Yah, I like the movement in this poem too. The clothes you laugh at and then wear, the nowhere to go but running, even your comments about your naysayer internal editor; all of a package. Still we keep on! Thanks for posting this today.


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