Sunday, November 2, 2008

The New York Marathon

As all who care to know have heard, Kara Goucher, a English woman, won her third NY Marathon today, running more tha 22 miles in 2 hours and something -- amazing! The men's winner was from Brazil. It was a beautiful sunny day with a breeze that was a bit chilly to walkers like me but probably felt very welcome to the amazing people who managed to do the course, whether in two and a half hours or eight or even ten.

I wrote this poem last November. I won't apologize but I won't pretend it's deathless poetry.


They run
By the thousands
through the canyons
over the bridges
through the park.
News cameras look down from helicopters.
People look out tall windows
lean over high balconies
line crowded streets.

like once the bison ran over the grasslands,
like wildebeast still run over the savannahs,
like fabled lemmings run over cliffs into the sea,
like heroes ran the mountains in ancient Attica.

As they run
many thousand feet pound cement softly
their breathing is a mass sigh in a city
accustomed to sirens' screams.
The crowd's cheers drift softly to the sky
newscasters' chatter circles the globe.

They have been running
alone or in packs of two or three or a few
for months, years. They leave
behind home, wife, husband, children.
Silence is enough for many,
some reach for "the zone."

The run
to win, or bear a record, to follow heroes,
to prove something, "because it's there,"
"to do it once."
to be, this one day lost in the herd,
part of something big and beautiful,
massive and magnificent
independent individuals
who trained and paid and stayed the course.

1 comment:

Helen Conway said...

Um no actually. Kara was the american woman who came in third ( from Portland Oregon) whilst the three times winner was my heroine the wonderful, gutsy Paula Radcliffe. She is by far the best runner around ( and if you stand on et road side at the 20 mile mark as she goes by then and only then do you reaslise how fast she goes!!) albeit she is fated to doom at the Olympics.