In the Stillness / Climb

Standard

In the Stillness

In the stillness of an early morning pre-sun
One eye opens halfway
To ensure you are still there
Resting as you were the night before
Sleep smoothing life’s tensions
Limbs bent and wrapped around the blankets
One eye opens halfway
Ensuring I am still here
Resting next to you
Undiminished and whole
Before the demands of the waking sun
Remove us both
Both eyes shut
In the stillness of an early morning pre-sun

Climb

I told my muscles, “Upward!”
They responded, “Not inclined.”
I chuckled and climbed.

Not far, I promised
When muscles asked for rest
That was just the first crest.

Second ridge was harder
Nothing but stairs into the stone
Muscles took accusing tone.

Pushed us further onward
So close to the peak
Muscles cried out, “We are weak!”

I cheered them “You are strong!”
We hit the top
And had to stop.

Then the horrid moment
Muscles shaking, scared and bent
Contemplating the descent.

Upward, I had cried
Muscles knew from town
What goes up, must come down.

Muscles win the argument
Once I’m soaking in the bath
Facing their knotted wrath

They don’t know my plan
Of going out with a friend
And climbing next weekend.

Friendly Coaching (4.2)

Standard

Friendly Coaching

She blithely skips up the stairs
On legs capable of wearing dripping pink sequins
Attached to backless dresses mere mortals cannot fathom.
“Come on,” she chirps.
My legs, sturdy columns, bend like wrought iron.
My feet follow in half-hearted humor,
As one laughing at a friend’s too-obvious punchline.
“You wanted to train – this is training!”
This is not training.
This is trudging.
This is…trudgery.
With a bag full of groceries and in socks meant for trousers,
I can only move forward and hope that my calves are getting ready
For harder inclines than the gentle overpass offers.
“Aren’t a I good friend?”
Yes.
You’re a good friend.
But before I can acknowledge this too-obvious truth
There you go floating down the next stairway
And I, momentous stone, must roll down after you.

Exercises

Standard

There’s that cheery music.

There’s that childlike voice.

Four sets of counting to eight

In mysterious, joyful tones.

YI. ER. SAN. SI. WU. LIU. QI. BA.

What is she commanding?

What could she want from us?

She does not say, but counts

And counts on us to know.

ER. ER. SAN. SI. WU. LIU. QI. BA.

No one changes, no one stops.

Students jostle, eat, and walk

They do these things free form

And not in sets of eight.

SAN. ER. SAN. SI. WU. LIU. QI. BA.

There, an old man, a teacher.

Fingers pressed under his closed eyes,

Making gentle rhythmic circles.

Mystery solved.

SI. ER. SAN. SI. WU. LIU. QI. BA.

 

——

 

I found out that the daily song and chant is a leftover from these kids’ primary school days. The songs are supposed to encourage breaks and anti-fatigue exercises. By high school they could care less about such things.