SAILING


S. Jay Smith, 1992

Sailing on a summer day,
the sun warm on your face,
the wind in your hair,
not a care in the world!
Oh! If this feeling could last forever!

The water rushes past the hull, gurgling softly,
heeled sharply is the boat,
port or starboard,
who cares.

Where are we bound?
Who knows?
The sails are taut, the rigging sings in the wind,
the halyards made fast,
We could sail to the stars, if we wanted!

My fantasy is that this feeling will never end.
We will sail through life,
on, and on, and on,
dreams realized,
friendships made, renewed, some lost,
fears abated.
Oh, What a day!

~A Summer House~


A summer house is a place to rest, to relax, to roam, to be alone.
The perfect summer house might house might have:

an ocean beach with waves crashing,
a wooded mountain brook, gurgling
a fireplace with roaring flames,
a lake stocked with fish to catch,
a view of a gentle ocean, stretching to the horizon,

and,
a startling vista of a majestic mountain range.

But perfection doesn't exist.
What is required is quietude,
a long book, you're dying to read,
a desk to write upon, . . . letters, poetry, perhaps a diary,
a sofa for dozing on a lazy afternoon,
a place to be creative, or to take a break from creativity,
even a yard to mow, a hedge to trim,
to relax the mind from a long week's work.

Everyone should have a cozy place,
to dream, to think, to feel,
to withdraw from mental labor,
if only for a day, a weekend,
to revive pleasant memories,
to forget the bad ones,
To hope, when all seems lost.

Everyone that has these things, has a summer house, . . . and more.

Jay Smith, November, 1992

~Running in Ireland!~


A narrow Irish lane winds serpentine through the countryside, twisting,
turning, bobbing over rolling hills,
so many shades of green, as only Ireland can offer!

A lass runs fast, drinking in the sounds of birds singing,
the smell of fresh hay, the sunbeams of light filtering though the trees.

On and on she runs, the cool winds of fall
caressing her cheeks,
pink from body heat,

Now reaching second wind,
she feels she could run for hours,
never tiring, never stopping until thirst becomes an overwhelming desire.

Suddenly a lorry, careening at high speed around a sharp turn,
overtakes her, she bounds off the road into the brush,
too fast to avoid the spiky thorns, which tear at her legs,
stopping, she finds rivulets of blood.

The driver stops, apologizes, proffering a ride,
"No thanks" she says, "I'm o.k... I'll just run to the village just over the next hill."
"Don't worry."

So she continues running, now reaching an extraordinary mental high.
At the little village, she stops only to quench her thirst,
then she starts toward home,
anticipating the last step and a warm bath!

November 22, 1992 Jay Smith

~Running -- Craters on The Island of Hawaii~


The earth is many gradations of brown, red, and ochre.
A sulphurous odor permeates the thin air, burning the nostrils.
Fumaroles dot the martian landscape, as if Pele' is venting her anger from a thousand follicles.
The sky is a deep blue, no clouds are sighted.
Spent lava lies in gigantic folds, as if the gods had thrust it out of their domain in a great fury.

The road bends sharply, descending at an abrupt angle, a natural trap.
The spectator, alone, is startled to see a group of runners approach at break-neck speed,
with no care for the dangers of the road--
a fall onto the sharp, rocky shoulders would be devastating!

The spectator is mesmerized by neon pink, purple, green, and blue clothing of the runners
in contrast to the lifeless brown earth.

As the runners approach closely, she becomes aware of their noises
the sounds of deep breathing, of rustling clothes,
even of the wind generated by fast-moving limbs.

She images an African plain,
of thousands of hoofed animals running in a gigantic herd,
stretching for miles and miles.

Each animal runs at her maximum pace,
not wanting to fall to the predators, watching intently for any stragglers.

The thunderous beat of the herd is deafening--their dust rises in the midday heat.

The spectator returns to the moment, and startled,
stumbles to the ground just as the last runner passes.

But the runners, intent on surmounting the next hill, never see this.
To them, she was only a bystander, with no understanding.

S. Jay Smith

November, 1992

~Running onboard Ship -- Tracy's Arm, Alaska~


The ship glides lazily through the cold, blue water.
Mountains, sharply sloping, reach for the sea.
Above, horizontal clouds hang low, as if the gods have created a shield
against the sunlight, destructive to their icy domain.

Listening carefully, one hears the surrealistic crackling of glacier ice,
like a million tiny bells tingling--this sound is superimposed
over the rich bass notes of the engines,
deep below, unseen, but felt and heard, reassuring.

But for the forward pace of the ship, it is uncommonly still,
the atmosphere seems reluctant to move,
as if motion would cause it to lose even more of its paltry store of heat.

Seagulls follow, apparitions in the sky,
hoping passengers will toss bountiful leftovers over the side.

The passage is ever-narrowing,
the translucent blue glaciers descend straight into the water,
calving their offspring into the deep, never to return.

A few brave passengers venture outside, despite the biting cold,
to experience this scene straight from the Pleistocene,
but where are the bison, the mastodons, the saber-tooths?
Perhaps just beyond that rocky knoll.

At the forward deck of the ship, a runner, clad in heavy sweats,
struggles against the severe cold.
In such weather the steps are shorter, the breaths shallower,
so as to protect the lungs from the searing air.

Running requires a special effort now but the return is so great!
It refreshes the mind and invigorates the soul, like no summer run can!

The runner hangs close to the superstructure, to gain its heat and minimize exposure
to the extreme elements.

He passes a window, glances inside at a huge beast of a man feasting at the midafternoon buffet.
The runner smiles, then increases his pace, knowing the high of his inner joy!

S. Jay Smith November, 1992

~Running on Going-to-the-Sun Highway Glacier National Park-Montana~


Look! Up there!
Can sunlight be filtering through the clouds?
Surely, not!
We've just left rain, followed by snow, and now the sun pierces the skyscape --
within only a mile!

This is not weather, its a smorgasbord of climates, thrown together by the gods,
giddy with their newly discovered powers, onto this wildly gyrating highway.
What a ride!

During the night, the wind howls incessantly,
as if to remind the visitor that this is its domain, that summertime visitors are tolerated,
but that the winter is owned by the nefarious cold.

The red 'jammer' departed the cozy warmth of the wood-paneled hotel that morning
and travelled over a spinning highway, replete with ice, glaciers, and wind--copious wind!

In winter, this road is covered with drifts of 20 feet,
now the drifts are merely inches deep but they cling near the roadway
--warning the traveller of their powerful brothers' return!

The 'jammer meanders slowly around the sharp bends,
sounding like an ancient mechanically-powered coffee-grinder,
engine laboring, gears rumbling, the driver struggling to maintain
the 50-year-old beast on the road.

How many thousands of passengers has the thing carried?
How many stories could it tell?

Up ahead, two runners, dressed in cobalt blue,
defy the cold, defy the wind, defy the road, defy the rain and the snow.

They demonstrate the power, the courage, and the stamina of the true runner.
Here, we were not meant to trespass.

This land, this climate, this aura, is fit for musk ox, for extinct inhabitants of an icy earth, not us!

The pace of the runners is necessarily slow, their lungs work hard in the rarified air--
their appendages are bundled against the piercing cold.

Not to lose precious body-heat, their heads are covered by thick wool caps.

They must watch each step to avoid the icy patches, to stick to the whirling, frozen roadway.

The 'jammer pulls aside the runners,
giving them wide berth, but they concentrate fully on the road.
They barely notice the noxious machine.
Inside, the heavily bundled passengers note the fellow-intruders to this nether-world.

Most, ridicule them,
"Look, what are those fools doing, they'll ruin their health!," a woman screams.

A seasoned runner sitting next to a door, stares enviously, knowing the joy,
the pride, the sense of accomplishment of the outsiders.

She would love to join them, to run in this awesome, demanding environment!
Just passing, she waves at the blue men and yells, "Keep going, don't stop."

The runners hear her, understand, laugh, and watch the red phantom disappear into the cold air.

S. Jay Smith November, 1992

A 'jammer is a four wheel semi-open vehicle originally built by the White Motor Company ... to haul tourists over Going-to-the-Sun highway, located in Glacier National Park, Montana. The jammer has five seats, with a capacity of about 20 passengers. The nickname derives from the manual gearboxes which need to be "jammed" into gear, generating lots of noise.

~Running in Luxor, Egypt~


Luxor, oh Thebes!, City of the Pharaohs.

City of the sun god Amon Ra, where Osiris, Isis, Horus, Thoth, Hathor,
Seth, Anubis, and others reined.

How many passionate and ribald nights have you seen--
beautiful dancing women with perfumed hair,
handsome men in flowing robes,
fragrant lotus blossoms and flowers strewn on polished-marble palace floors.

Oh!, Luxor, oh Karnak, if your exquisite columns could only speak
of unwritten tantalizing events, what tales could you tell!

Were the pharaohs really different from mortals?

How many treasures do you conceal, Luxor?
How many undiscovered tombs of great riches abound the desert on your flanks?
Untold riches have been ripped from you, the tombs of great pharaohs,
robbed countless times, despite the efforts of priests, guards, and gods.

All of these were no match for greed!

Only one tomb, that of a minor pharaoh, survived by accident,
but oh what a tomb!
A glance at these riches makes us ponder
the wondorous wasted contents of the tombs of the great pharaohs:
Ramses, Seti, Akenaton, and more. We are in awe!

The Great Nile is your creator, Luxor, your are its progeny.
This eternal, deep, blue water is your lifeblood!
Without it you would die in a day! The Nile brings green to a lifeless desert,
water to sustain life, and a medium for transportation.

If this river is ever cut off, you will certainly cease to exist!
Guard the Nile well, Luxor.

The Egyptian Desert is an inhospitable place for the runner--
heat, drought, sand, and the merciless burning sun join to dissuade even the most dedicated!

Here though, next to the Great Nile, we find a runner's narrow oasis:
shade under the great palms on the banks of the broad river,
respite from the burning heat of the sun!
Regardless, only a single devoted runner is seen!
This climate is more suited for languorous rest, for days of ease --
physical, even mental exertion, seem superfluous, almost a luxury.

Running is not a priority here!


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