Friday, January 30, 2009

William Blake for Runners

Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born.
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.

Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.

We are led to believe a lie
When we see not thro' the eye,
Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in beams of light.

God appears, and God is light,
To those poor souls who dwell in night;
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day.

There is some poetry that I "just get". William Blake (above quote taken from Auguries of Innocence), Thomas Hardy, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson and of course Dylan Thomas are all favorites of mine. They touch my creative soul and release emotions, moods and meaning in the same way a much loved song will trigger memories of a particular time and place.

Of course, there is a lot of crap out there too.

But thinking through a favorite muse can be an excellent distraction when running an ultramarathon, especially one where you will be spending a significant amount of time running at night and can go hours without seeing a soul. In a race where keeping a tight hold on your mental state is key they can provide a relaxing rhythm. If you can open your mind and go with it who knows what path they will take you down. After all, when you need to think, what better place to go than the woods or the mountains? It is said that George Mallory and his companions read poetry to each other in their high camps on Everest prior to their summit attempt. A romantic notion from a bygone age perhaps, but I can understand it. Maybe I'm just an old romantic at heart.

I only hope my endless night will finish in sweet delight. And maybe some Starbucks coffee. And a nice greasy McDonalds breakfast.

8 days to go.

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