Running, Rhythm & Rhymes


On Global Running Day, we’re reflecting on the positive effects running can have on our lives, and how those effects ripple outwards to impact far more than our fitness. Yes, running is one of the most efficient, productive exercises out there for caloric burn and weight loss. But the benefits running can have on the self extend far beyond toned muscles. Running can lift your mood, calm your rage, provide a rare uninterrupted space for you to meditate on your day, and in some cases, inspire you to create great art. We've compiled a few of our favorite style- and era-spanning poems about running for you to peruse below. Maybe the next time your feet hit the pavement you’ll be thinking of rhymes to match with your rhythm as well!

Door in the Mountain
Jean Valentine

Never ran this hard through the valley
never ate so many stars

I was carrying a dead deer
tied on to my neck and shoulders 

deer legs hanging in front of me
heavy on my chest 

People are not wanting
to let me in

Door in the mountain
let me in

The Song of the Ungirt Runners
Charles Hamilton Sorley

We swing ungirded hips
And lighten’d are our eyes,
The rain is on our lips,
We do not run for prize.
We know not whom we trust
Nor whitherward we fare,
But we run because we must
Through the great wide air.

The waters of the seas
Are troubled as by storm.
The tempest strips the trees
And does not leave them warm.
Does the tearing tempest pause?
Do the tree-tops ask it why?
So we run without a cause
’Neath the big bare sky.
The rain is on our lips,
We do not run for prize.
But the storm the water whips
And the wave howls to the skies.
The winds arise and strike it
And scatter it like sand,
And we run because we like it
Through the broad bright land.

The Racer
John Masefield

 I saw the racer coming to the jump,
Staring with fiery eyeballs as he rusht,
I heard the blood within his body thump,
I saw him launch, I heard the toppings crusht.
And as he landed I beheld his soul
Kindle, because, in front, he saw the Straight
With all its thousands roaring at the goal,
He laughed, he took the moment for his mate.
Would that the passionate moods on which we ride
Might kindle thus to oneness with the will;
Would we might see the end to which we stride,
And feel, not strain, in struggle, only thrill.
And laugh like him and know in all our nerves
Beauty, the spirit, scattering dust and turves. 

wish you were here you are
Rachel Zucker

 time isn’t the same for everyone there is
science behind this when you fly into space
you’re not experiencing time at the same rate
as someone tethered to Earth & someone
moving quickly experiences time at a slower rate
even on Earth so as I run through Central Park
at a speed not much faster than walking but slightly
I am shattering fields of time around me
& experiencing time differently from those I pass
I’m trying to comfort you you see you will die
but not at one particular speed last night I saw
my son’s adult self & in the same moment
toddler self this really happened he was playing
“Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd on his
electric guitar & feeling it he’s 11 & in between
two kinds of time on the verge of worlds I think
we are too you & I who are old young women
you’re wrong you know it’s not all 'downhill
from here' we are here you are & I am & this
beautiful moment our sons

Cecilia Winter