Saturday, April 4, 2015

Day 4: The First Seduction


The First Seduction

I ran first in daylight,
explored roads and trails
with open eyes:

roads and trees,
cars and houses,
dusty, scuffed shoes;

gangly limbs cut through
an outlined, oil-painted world
under a solar spotlight.

But running seduces at night,
under pinpoint stars and
moon’s reflective glow;

when strides push
through pools of lamplight
and waves of dark.

In the chiaroscuro,
soft shapes float
where day’s rise stark;

the air gently washes
over light sweat,
eases across skin;

sounds splash into the quiet,
steps and breaths and crickets
barely ripple the surface;

and the silence rises,
pulls a meandering mind
back inside its depths.

When I started running, I liked it.  But when I started running after dark, I fell in love with it.  The times I let myself go and felt the most in tune with my universe were ill-advised, late-night runs on which I lost track of time and even where I was, ignoring my lostness and just continuing till I felt ready to find my way back.  I started with that concept today, and felt my way through the writing until I found my way into a poem.

My introduction to the concept of chiaroscuro came through an opportunity to present the work of famous artists to my sons' elementary school classes.  Building visual effect into poetry presents a challenge, and that challenge drove my approach to this poem.  I sought in particular to build a contrast between the bright lights of daytime and the darker, more nuanced feel of night.

A choice that sent me back and forth in this poem was whether to accentuate the contrast by shifting verb tense.  I did so, seeking to create an immersion effect at night as opposed to the more detached feeling of daytime running.  When I come back to revise, that may or may not change. 

Finally, I focused in the nighttime stanzas on word choices with softer consonants and longer vowels to accompany the more fluid feel and seductive qualities of night.

1 comment:

  1. I also like the verb tense shift.
    Poem evoked many memories of the feel of night running/walking...can almost feel the night air on my skin