The Poets' Corner
Running shoes melt into the hot road to nowhere
Attached to my soul and spirit, a heated passion
One with the blacktop, cares and worries burned away
This is why I run, another chance to dare
Sunsets through the trees a slow blur of night.
Running finds a time to reflect, think and be alone
Left guides the right floating through pictures of the day
Silent meditation breeds ideas, nothingness empties the mind
Is there truly a destination in brevity leaving home?
Neighbors never seen acknowledge my flight.
Heart beats, thoughts race, poetry in its concept
A days accomplishments compressed in this healthful release
Rhythms and body lifted to a special ecstasy
Waiting all day for this special moment, fragile time kept.
Final footsteps to a better life.
Running Club, Tuesday Nights
We gather in back of Bryn Mawr Running Company,
Shed clothes and baggage. Stripped
to shorts and tech shirts, airy
fabric still too warm some days. It is short--
the run to the polo fields where no one plays
polo but we dodge soccer balls and line drives, warming
up before meeting next to goal
for Coach Bobs instructions that claim attention
and soon our last shred
of muscle and soul. Shedding water
bottles on the grass near a finish line marked
with cone and flag, we ask nothing
but to grow
wings to take us through
another quarter mile, another half, breath
too small, it seems, to hold us. It lets
us down sometimes. Nothing
left, yet we find
our feet, rise
to the bait of reaching another orange
flag planted on the ground of our being.
Afterward, we return
to cold beers, chairs in a circle outside
the store, trading
stories, solutions to world problems,
and high fives.
Footfalls on a Wednesday Evening
Her shoes talk to her
As she runs
Each step brings the sound
Of a body in motion
A second run
Quicker than the first
To her cluttered mind
Peace to her jumbled emotions
Strength to her body
She pays attention to the message
Each footfall bring--
Drink it in
Tuck away the sensations
The sweet sweat
An experience for the senses
The essence of the senses--
The feel of her body
The smell of her sweat
The taste of the air
The visual feast
The sounds from
The touch of life's velvet hand
Footfalls on a Wednesday evening
Connecting her with life
With the essence of
Footfalls on a Wednesday evening
Bringing her closer to herself
Carmen G. M. Salvino
Why do you do it?
Please ask me again
I'll explain once more
But you'll never understand.
Shake your head in disbelief
As I move towards the door
Smiling to myself inside
You make me love it more.
My first steps resound softly
As the cool air slaps my face
Slipping into the mind-set
Legs striving to set the pace.
My first breaths are jagged
Lungs struggling to adjust
The first hill awaits me
It's reach the top or bust.
I'm an addict of the rush
The feel of give and take
As my limbs accept the challenge
And the hill begins to break.
The first of many triumphs
Forgotten with the next turn
Many more miles to go
As my energy slowly burns.
Every step blends with the next
Leaving footprints in my wake
Glide up the softest incline
Watching my reflection in the lake.
I see someone I don't recognize
Yet someone I know so well
Is there a runner inside this person?
I'm still not able to tell.
I know I'm always here
Dressed in my running clothes
Through the weather of every season
No matter how the wind blows.
And every day I begin again
Starting over with the rising sun
The lake and hills are waiting
For me to begin my run.
Our Runner glides easily down the road
Seeking his friends for 2000's last episode
Wow! The year has passed so quick
Father Time maintains his steady tick.
It seems just several days ago
Y2K filled many with anguished woe
But the world weathered that storm
By just following their regular norm.
December's fresh, white snow
Emits a cheerful, holiday glow
Many decorate with colorful lights
Creating some astonishing sights.
The icicle lights are very neat
They often produce a happy bleat
These bright areas are a decent change
Along the Runner's December range.
Some snow covers the hard ground
Muffling the Runner's foot sound
Still, a white Christmas is in doubt
Due to nature's whims on our route.
Near the corner, a motorist waves
At the spooky figure from the graves
The Runner ponders: Who is that guy?
While waving and running on by.
Our local people are a friendly lot
Especially when Christmas hits the spot
The Christmas Spirit dashes around
Despite December's frozen ground.
The Runner seeks the Road Guys
Often shrewd, sassy, but never wise
They're gathered at Howard's House
Playing with the Gateway Mouse.
New Gazette readers may not know
That before December 25th's big show
Three guys and a very special guest
Find themselves on a Christmas Quest.
Since runners are a gregarious group
Santa Claus and his North Pole troupe
Often designate a special trip
For the Road Guys who never slip.
It's 8:00, said the chiming clock
Good thing Howard lives down the block
The front door opens without a knock
We often wonder if there's any lock.
Holiday decorations fill his home
Like that carved Christmas gnome
Howard projects that seasonal joy
Often found in the young girl and boy.
Howard, Joe Pa, and Mr. Bernie G
Are standing next to Howard's tree
The Runner joins this crafty clan
And begins discussing Santa's plan.
"Guys, this year we have an easy task
All we have to do is run and ask
Do you have a special Christmas wish
That Santa can leave on your dish?"
Joe Pa said, "Teaching right from wrong
Accompanied by a sound educational song
Is my wish to Santa at the North Pole
I hate when people dig a grave hole."
Howard pondered, then said to us guys,
"Our U.S. economy is strong, yet wise
It's time to forgive those Third World loans
Which hinders first steps and creates moans."
Mr. Bernie G was quick to state,
"Yes, knowledge prevents an ignorant fate
Perhaps in some way, my verbiage can spark
A resourceful, educated, Renaissance mark."
Clearly, the Road Guys grasped the plan
Who said, there's not a smart roadman?
We decided to tour Windber Rec Park
Where many gather for an enjoyable lark.
A wooden fence borders Park Road
Yet, doesn't limit one's exercise mode
Colored lights are attached to the rails
And evergreens provide gala details.
Our group ran into Windber Rec Park
Which stays lit well after dark
The park is decorated every year
With twinkling lights, garlands, and reindeer.
Mayor Ben was striding along
Humming a quaint seasonal song
"More funds, more money for our Park
Is a Christmas wish I'll steadily bark."
George and Al came running by
So our group stopped and said, "HI!"
They both wished for an apple pie
With enough slices for all trotting by.
Coach Bill C came storming on by
With his jutting chin held high
"A quarterback for my football team
Really makes my weary eyes gleam!"
Then, a determined Hillary strode into view
And somehow knowing, stated on cue,
"I wish my first-ever six-year run
Is remembered most for the good works done."
Many wished for a safe, happy holiday
While others sought a snow free byway
More money, good health, even a good book
Were wishes requiring no further look.
Dreams and wistful wishes abound
Across Windber Rec's snowy ground
It seems others besides runners dream
Of competing for the winning team.
Runners who dream, work, and run
Often state their daily tour is fun
Hope grows with each passing day
Despite what nature hurls our way.
Bernie G will transmit our report
To Santa's cold North Pole port
When Santa studies our wish list
He'll smile and develop eye mist.
"But George," muses Howard's puzzled voice,
"We never got your Christmas wish choice
Hey good buddy, what will it be?
What wish fills you with glee?"
My wish is the best for you and yours
A great run even when it pours!
My wish is for a good steady pace
So many can enjoy life's long race.
My wish is for real peace on Earth
So our children have a chance at birth
My wish is for compassion and trust
Or our society will eventually bust.
A wish for a second chance
Requires no additional glance
We always wish for just one more day
On our world's undulating byway.
Once again, our task is done
It was an outstanding run
Merry Christmas to one and all
From the Road Guys striding tall.
George A. Hancock
FOLLOWING HER BLISS
If you follow your bliss, you put
yourself on the path that has been
there all the while, waiting for you,
and the life that you ought to be
living is the one you are living....
Follow your bliss and don't be afraid,
and doors will be open where you didn't
know they were going to be.
This just in from Peachtree City
(The biggest news today!):
The RRCA president
Is Freddi Carlip--yaaaaay!
Ol' Joseph Campbell had it right
When he said, "Follow bliss,"
For Freddi's followed hers, my friend,
And it has led to this.
From RG editor and boss
To running's highest station,
A straight ascent without dissent--
She's hailed throughout the nation.
The RG family's thrilled to death,
And so are all the readers;
Let's raise a glass to Freddi C--
She's first among the leaders.
P.S. That minor detail about an enormous
amount of work and responsibility?
Pshaw! No problemo--right, Freddi?
You never wanted to sleep more than
four hours a night anyway.
BOB RAY, STREAKER EXTRAORDINAIRE
A former letter carrier
In Bal'mer by the Bay,
Is streaking in the record book--
He leads the U.S.A.
He started running every day
In April '67
And hasn't missed a day since then--
No doubt he's in hog heaven.
Through Viet Nam and Watergate,
Through Carter and the Gipper,
Through "Read My Lips" and Desert Storm,
Through Clinton and his zipper.
Through snow and rain, through health and pain,
Through cold and searing sun--
The vagaries of daily life
Ne'er kept him from his run.
For those who haven't done the math,
I'll play the worker bee:
His string of years with no days missed
Has now reached thirty-three.
We honor him for that--and more:
He coaches runners, too.
He also works the finish lines
At races we all do.
And so it pleasures me no end
To introduce today...
A runnin' man with heart o' gold--
Let's hear it for Bob Ray.
The Woman Runner
(For Kathrine Switzer, November 15, 1999)
This, dear one, is the race of your life
You have trained for this moment
with great sacrifice
Though your heart is enduring and so is your mind
Do not think of the finish,
nor the laurels, just yet
Please take some support
and run with the pack
Then your spirit must push you
when you are behind
When it is time for your turn, though
you know you must lead
As you don't run away
but you do run beyond
Doing what others could only have dreamed
Hartford Marathon Ravin'
Once upon a day so dreary, as I plodded weak and weary,
Running through a pain that I abhor,
Longing for warmth of a shower, still I ran for one more hour.
I took a look at one last GU pack,
Squeezed it once, then put it back
And heard a voice inside my head: Why go on? What for?
Now distinctly of my run, I recall the starting gun,
As the crowd poured out and toward its chore.
The music wailed; a chase entailed.
Eagerly I joined the fray¾what'er the trouble come what
Through the streets, without a care, no pain, no guts, no gore
When must I stop? It matters not, for I can run forevermore.
Presently my legs grew stronger; my pace not hesitating longer,
Running quickly, jogging was a bore.
I surged through miles seven, six, and five, enthusiasm shocked
The course familiar having run it years before.
And scarcely did I feel the pains of muscles that would not stand
The pounding of 19 more miles should I try to run forevermore.
At 13 miles, the runners turning, and my soles beneath me
And soon a whisper: Why go on? But just a whisper, nothing more.
Positions shifting, wondering glances as we continued our advances,
Through the streets of cups and wrappers we'd not have to answer
Pass shops and shrubs and homes and kids with moms they'd not
hold still for,
They raced us, imagining that they could run forevermore.
And then at once so unexpected, in my calf so damn neglected,
A cramp, so deep and sharp that even in mixed company I swore.
The months of training, miles of straining, countless laps, endless
To run the race requires but time and effort, nothing more.
Despite my efforts, pain persisted, a DOS machine might well
You can do three choices, now it's time: Abort, Retry, Ignore.
The birds above, not Raven rather buzzards (from New Haven)
Circled disappointedly, as runners spoiled the treat that they
The Wall will stop or slow, not kill; the remainder of the course
We plunged again ahead quite fast, for we could smell the near
Abandoned walkers that we pass we could just feel sorry for
'Cause now the whisper's more a shout: Why go on? What for?
Then there's the Arch, the end is now, the sprint: death's
march, a final knell
From bands and family fans. We cross the line, the pain I can
And that's my tale, of Hartford's test, my brief travail
I've done my best. I now seek solace to the aches as each step
hits the floor.
The miles and sweat have ended now, the ride's been fun, our
My friends it's over now and note I'm ravin' nevermore.
A shot echoes out.
The smoke has all cleared.
The runners stampede
And the crowd starts to cheer.
Elbows are thrown.
I'm moving up in the pack.
Passing more runners,
There's no looking back.
My stride starts to lengthen.
The pack, it thins out.
Head up, hands loose,
--Don't look about.
Feet pounding the pavement,
The rustling leaves.
And the pain in my knees.
Hundreds of thoughts,
Relaxing, stress free?
My legs feeling lighter,
But, Oh, the pain in my knees.
The wind in my hair.
I quicken the pace.
Until the wind changes direction
And blows toward my face.
My rhythm, a zone,
Sweat on my brow.
Mouth getting drier,
I could use a drink now.
Ahead there's a station
With cups on the ground.
Drink some water,
But not so much you drowned.
The miles, they pass quickly.
Feeling strong and light.
Keep your mind focused,
Don't think about tonight.
Only one more to go.
Another under my belt.
I can only imagine
How the winner felt.
The crowd starts to thicken.
The clapping, the noise.
Remember your form,
And keep your poise.
The finish line in sight,
The clock ticks away.
A new personal best
Will be set this day.
An all-out sprint
As I pass a few more.
Just don't trip on yourself
And fall flat on the floor.
Twenty-five yards left,
Heart beating fast.
Never in this lifetime,
Will I finish last.
Look up at the clock
As my foot hits the line.
Touch the button on my watch
To record the time.
Another race complete.
A new personal best.
Can't wait until next time
To put myself to the test.
Chad W. Lapp
David A. Downing
In the lawn on the mall where the black granite grew,
It was early spring in nineteen eighty-two.
I tried to go see, to set me free and stop these stupid tears.
A sense of guilt blocked my path for over fourteen years.
Oh, I surely see our name.
It was ninety-seven, with a push from heaven,
For the Cherry Blossom, I showed up on April twenty-seven.
I ran in by the west, I ran out by the east,
My promise kept, shouldn't I feel released.
Oh, I surely see our name.
I turned to leave the way I came,
Back down the hill, I felt no shame.
At E-16 I would pause.
My life has changed, I saw the cause.
Oh, I surely see our name.
A pink worm I did see,
Pointing to a name that looked like me.
So close to mine but at the end a "G."
With my thumb I covered and now it's me.
Oh, I surely see our name.
One in fifty thousand it pointed on that day,
None other like it and who would believe it anyway.
Each raised close to a Hagerstown and cruised on U.S. Forty.
Both asked to serve the Country during a war which some felt
Oh, I surely see our name.
One stayed in the USA his entire four-year tour,
The other insisted Southeast Asia, he wanted nothing more.
Three times you requested orders and at the end it cost you all.
Now your name is here, forever on this wall.
Oh, I surely see our name.
An answer to a prayer, meant just for me.
Yes, God is here and always at our side you see.
Life's paths are different, as to our futures, there's no hint,
Some an ultramarathon, some a fifty-yard sprint.
God has shown what He meant to be.
Oh, I surely see there is a "G."
David A. Downin
ADVANCE BOOK REVIEW:
THE RRCA'S 40TH-ANNIVERSARY BOOK
Forty years of grassroots running
Forty years of writing, too,
Make this book a winner;
You'll enjoy it, through and through.
This must-read book is coming soon
To a running store near you;
Treat yourself to poignant pieces
And humor with a wacky view.
It's got Carlip and Kardong--
Dr. Greene's included, too--
Top-notch writers from the past,
To lift and tickle you.
If you like to read at night
In your easy chair at home,
If you want to share our joy,
Then you gotta buy this tome.
A NICE ROUND NUMBER
McGwire has his 70
And Ripken has The Streak;
Poulos has a total that
Is awesome, magnifique.
I thought that I should have one, too,
A number of my own,
A cipher that would represent
Some seeds that I had sown.
My goal for 1998
(An off-the-record one)
Was to write a hundred pieces--
I thought it could be done.
One hundred works, but only if
They all are worthy of
The hallowed pages of RG,
Where I have felt the love.
The articles and poems
Must not be forced or strained;
The Great Creator must show through,
And you, be entertained.
One was short--just 40 words--
While others pushed 6K;
Short or long, this thing I know:
They're by-products of play.
It's time to check the tally sheet
Now that the year is done;
Without ado, I say to you,
THIS IS THE HUNDREDTH ONE!
DOING THE RIGHT THING
I beat up on my mailman
And spent the night in jail
And all because I listened to
Freddi Carlip--(here's my tale)
He was making a delivery
Of another runner's mag
I grabbed him by the collar
And beat him with the flag.
I told him as I beat him up
And popped him in the snoot
"Just deliver me my Runner's Gazette
I accept no substitute..."
It was not that long ago
That I was on the trail
Of an article on Bob,
A friend who's old and frail.
Blood, sweat, and tears
Into my piece did flow,
And emotion-laden words--
They're heartfelt, doncha know.
I worked it and reworked it
To say exactly what I meant,
And by the time that it was finished,
I was bleary-eyed and spent.
Owing to my tired state,
And glad that it was done,
I made a major error--
I listened to Bob's son.
"Put it on the Internet,"
The techie said to me.
"Put it on the Internet,
For all the world to see."
I let the techie put it up
On a glorified Web site,
But I am having second thoughts--
It doesn't seem quite right.
The downside to the Internet
Is dawning on me now:
I'd love to get some feedback
On my article--but how?
The story of Bob's running,
Is it a stinker or a gem?
And those emotion-laden words,
What did you think of them?
I am waiting for your e-mail
(Is that really a lost cause?),
And I value your opinion,
Even if you point out flaws.
I've asked you for your comments
(You say it's just so-so?);
If you don't send me e-mail,
How will I ever know?