October 31, 2008

We were driving north of Ord, Nebraska,  near an old Indian outpost called Ft. Hartsuff,  when my friend Bill Wiecking,  scholar and athlete,  felt like getting his jogging in for the day.   I let him out on the cold gravel and drove up the road and waited for him.

The solitary runner,  bold and fleet,

Shrugs the windy threats of fateful skies;

Along Ft. Hartsuff’s  graveled path he flies,

Naked  ‘gainst  December’s  icy  sheet.

Farm hounds feign attack,  but soon retreat

From the killer ape  whose fiery eyes

Dissolve like wax the ancient growls’  disguise,

Driving them to safety and defeat.

Bill’s warm breath tames the cold of earth,

And dances with the power of his soul;

He laughs at dogs and gods that he must face,

For pleasure tells him what his life is worth;

His chin is thrust toward freedom’s unknown goal,

Where man,  defiant,  will forever race.

–from “Sonnet Running Diary,”   l989.

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