Just an ordinary walk

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In the last few weeks my walking partner, dear hubby, has been finding it more and more painful to walk. Then the doctor told him, no more long walks until you’re better. So for now I am walking on my own.

When I took solitary walks in the past I experienced a wonderful loosening of words and ideas. And it’s happening again, if I’m alert to it.

To help with that, I carry a little notebook and pen to write down words, turns of phrase, and images that I don’t want to forget. Or I hold them in my head. That’s what I did for the poem below. When I got home I free-wrote like crazy to capture everything in prose. Later I worked some of my ideas into …

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“I am a long skinny shadow now, walking down a golden street” (Photo © 2016 by V. Nesdoly)

Just an ordinary walk

On this cold morning I am soft wax
feeling intimidated by impatient cars
swishing, swooshing
swirling beside me.

One turns right in front
of my WALK light, almost clips my toes.
Even in moments of still, distant traffic hums
a far off siren screams.

City birds above me chirp, warble
sing their own bustle, swoop down (peck, peck),
flutter away. They are nonchalant, daring,
savvy to the rhythm of feet and tires (hop, hop).

My nose tests wind gusts, smells
gasoline, diesel, vanilla, a passerby’s peppery
perfume,  chocolate, cinnamon
(something good is baking at Safeway).

I am a long  skinny shadow now walking down a golden street
past a lady in a taupe coat with her silky dog in red
and a grey couple smoking on a bench.
They pull their Lhasa Apso close so I can pass.

I can’t find the book drop at the library.
The security guard points me to it’s green-light lips
“You scan it.” He shows me which bar-code
and the slot sucks the book from my hand.

As I turn toward home, the sun stares
into my eyes, brash. I shade them
with hands balled into gloves, fingers
squeezing warmth from palms.

A kid with a black-and-white backpack strides by
black arms bare under short black sleeves
black jeans, white shoes—so cool
but how can he not feel so cold?

I climb stairs, twist key in the lock—
happy to be home.
It was just an ordinary walk
but forever engraved in this poem.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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PF-2This post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by the queen of poetic forms, Tricia at her blog Miss Rumphius Effect.

32 thoughts on “Just an ordinary walk

  1. Just an ordinary walk produced so much, Violet. I like that you carry a notebook with you during your solitary walks. I always bring my iPhone to capture the images I see and words that float on by. I look forward to seeing what you offer for my fall gallery, Autumnventure.

    *Carol *

    *Carol Varsalona* *E*LA *C*onsultant Moderator of *#NYEDChat* *Wonder Lead Ambassador * 1430 Surrey Lane, Rockville Centre, NY 11570 (516) 317-8306 (C) Blog: beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com Twitter: @cvarsalona

    * Wonderopolis *

    On Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 9:17 AM, Violet Nesdoly / poems wrote:

    > Violet Nesdoly posted: ” In the last few weeks my walking partner, dear > hubby, has been finding it more and more painful to walk. Then the doctor > told him, no more long walks until you’re better. So for now I am walking > on my own. When I took solitary walks in the past I exper” >

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  2. Walking is actually a really important part of my self-care plan – no matter how busy life gets I always have to find time to get outside and walk. There’s just nothing that centres me quite like being outside, clearing my mind and taking in my surroundings. Your poem just reminds me again that there’s inspiration all around us, everyday!

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  3. Lots of sights and smells here. I, too, love solitary walks when they loosen words. I’m afraid I’ve abandoned my pad and pen in preference to my iPhone when walking. I send myself emails with all those bits and pieces. The problem with that system is that I don’t always come home and try to get them down in some form. So sometimes they just remain cyber bits floating around without a home.

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    • Thanks, Dori. I’d probably use a phone too if mine was smart! Actually I don’t think it matters if things don’t get used immediately. It’s the act of noticing, that counts, and amazingly those memories resurface to be used at the right time.

      >

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    • Aw, thanks, Tara. I’ve probably walked this route dozens of times, but each time presents its unique gifts. Am training myself to be poetically alert more often (at least when I’m sans other company).

      >

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  4. So many great details from your walk, Violet–reading it made me feel like I was by your side. I particularly like the contrast between the nonchalant birds that are savvy to the rhythm of feet and tires and your own feelings of intimidation!

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    • Thank you so much, Buffy! The juxtaposition you noted, it just happened, but then on rereading, I saw it too. (Does our subconscious play a part in helping us organize our words, do you think?)

      >

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  5. I almost recognise that shadow! It looks like my shadow has been tailing YOU!

    I find walking (alone – or with a dog…) unsnarls all sorts of writing tangles. It’s like a fresh breath of words.

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    • Thanks Tabatha,
      I’m sure I have written about walking in the rain. No shadows on that walk… more a need for windshield wipers (at least if you wear glasses and prefer to walk under a hood to under an umbrella).

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  6. So much to love here: your soft wax feeling, the long shadows, looking for the bookdrop, the longing for your partner. Very evocative!

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  7. Oh, not just an ordinary walk….all your senses are alive, lady!
    Wonderful capture of the morning.
    I hope your hubby is better soon….but I love how you turn time alone into inspired writing.
    Have a great week, Violet!

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