Saturday, January 4, 2014

Walking Poetry


In the fourth day of my revived “poetry project” and I’ve re-memorized some 20 poems.
It’s a remarkable way to take a walk, the words mixed with the muscle memory and the passing landscape and oxygen sent to the brain through physical exertion. I already had a winning idea (free for the taking) of the “Toddler Exercise Program.” Bring some two-year olds to the gym and have the adults copy everything they do. Guarenteed better work-out than Crossfit and Zumba combined! Now my new idea—The Walking Poetry Project. Culture and calorie-burning mixed!

Today I walked up to the Sutro Heights forest behind U.C. Med Center and took a trail that circumnavigated the hill, with stunning views of the Sunset District, Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Hills, framed through the tall and narrow eucalyptus trees. Another warm sunny day (in January?) and the Mediterranean light giving a sparkle to everything. So I sat down and in-between Yeats and Keats, wrote my own little poem. Not slated for immortality, but fun to try it out. Read it out loud for maximum effect. 

MEMORIZING KEATS IN SAN FRANCISCO

Traipsing through the tree-lined streets
Treasures tripping off the tongue.
Hopkins, Housman, Wordsworth, Keats,
Words declaimed and sometimes sung.

Turning up the wooded trail,
The splendid city spread below.
Distant boats with hoisted sail,
Reciting poems from long ago.

Amongst the eucalyptus trees,
The winding path and poison oak.
I walk alone free as I please
To speak anew what once was spoke.

Wordsworth walked ‘round England’s lakes
Keats dreamed lines in Nature’s bower.
Frost stopped to view the downy flakes,
Each place filled with its own power.

And so this place and so this day
All through the dappled  woods I roam,
Kept company by those from far away
Still living in their spoken poems.

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