Friday, April 23, 2010

Where I'm From



WHERE I'M FROM

I'm from the smell of chlorine
and the heat of sun-baked cement by the pool.

I'm from cherry tomatoes eaten warm off the plant
and zinnias, marigolds, and petunias.

I'm from goatheads and hailstones,
blizzards and dust storms.

I'm from "Punkin' " and "Sugar Plum"
and "You are my special angel."

I'm from Lawrence Welk and Glenn Miller,
Ed Sullivan and Johnny Cash.

I'm from Lubbers Lounge Lu Lu,
Thanksgiving ham, and broiled spareribs.

I'm from wide horizons
and big skies,
I'm from a small town
and narrow opportunities.
I've traveled far.
I've kept it all inside my heart.

Mary Lee Hahn, copyright 2010



Friday, January 29, 2010

Swimming


photo by gabyu


SWIMMING

First it's about the shock of the cold
and the strength of the first five laps.
Then, for the next howevermany laps,
it's about the rhythm
and the breathing
and the black line below me.

It's the rhythm
and the breathing
and the black line below me.

It's the cardinal outside my window this morning
and the things I need to do this weekend
and the things that didn't get done today.

It's the rhythm
and the breathing
and the black line below me.

It's the girl in the purple bikini in the lane next to me.
She swims so fast it seems like she's on top of the water
instead of in it, 
like I am.

It's the rhythm
and the breathing
and the black line below me.

It's the smell of the chlorine
and the push off the wall.

And the rhythm
and the breathing
and the black line below me.

Finally it's about the deliciously hot water of the shower
and the sting of the cold air on my damp head.
It's about

the drive home and
the late dinner and
the falling asleep.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2010



This is a poem about what it's like to swim laps. While it might look tedious from the deck (back and forth, back and forth), there's actually a lot going on inside my head while I swim. Besides working to keep track of my lap count, I think about my day, plan what needs to get done tomorrow, and make up stories about the swimmers around me. The counting keeps me focused, though, and makes my swim a 30 or 40 minute meditation. And no matter what else my mind is doing, the swim is always about the rhythm and the breathing and the black line below me.