It begins and ends with little things. Beginners lean back against the fall. Instinct is exhausting. Legs burn. The hardest thing is to trust gravity, the engine and the enemy.
Like walking, if you
learn young, you never think of it.
you must focus on the mission.
The body does what the mind won’t do, can’t do, in incremental moves. Hands and feet play different tunes; hips and shoulders go different ways. The head floats while the sternum sniffs a line.
Lower limbs sweep for mines,
ankles poised to leap.
Without motion, you drift.
Moving, you embrace.
You turn while you reach. Reach further than you think, falling all the time; catch up to yourself and pass yourself. Suddenly, you’re behind yourself and your shoulders turn toward gravity. You are looking at constellations.
Your body has betrayed you
listening to your mind.
You can’t get past yourself.
You are upside down and backwards
sliding into the pit.
It takes years. Some never get it right, fight forever with beast machines and hunger; when tiny moves in small bones keep us alive, facing the fall. I no longer think of a body leaning, but pulling feet beneath. And that has made the difference.
We go up or down,
past or future.
The trick is to
not burst into flames.
T.L. Murphy (26/02/2020)
About the poet
T.L. Murphy is a retired carpenter, a published poet, and an avid skier. He grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, U.S.A. and emigrated to Canada in 1978. He lives in Canmore, Alberta, Canada, on the east side of the Canadian Rocky Mountains about 20 miles from the Continental Divide.
He is a performance poet and has shared the stage with many prominent Canadian poets. He is appointed Poet Laureate of Canmore, a position he will hold for one year. His poems, fiction and non-fiction have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies and have been translated into Greek and Chinese.