With the first step, the number of shapes the walk might take is infinite, but then the walk begins to define itself as it goes along, though freedom remains total with each step: any tempting side road can be turned into an impulse, or any wild patch of woods can be explored. The pattern of the walk is to come true, is to be recognized, discovered.”
– A.R. Ammons, A Poem is a Walk
In A.R. Ammons essay A Poem Is A Walk he likens a poem to a walk. He summarizes by stating:
- both involve the whole person.
- each involve the mind and body – through rhythm, feeling, sound, conscious and subconscious.
- neither is reproducible, there are no two the same – day after day; the shape of the walk or poem can unfold anew (as expressed in the opening quote.)
- once the shape is discovered, it can return: it has a motion either in the body of the walker or the body of the words characteristic of the walker/reader.
What an awesome comparison. I feel many of my walks are like poems.
The majority of my walks take place in my neighborhood park. Each time I walk, I loop around and around the same trail for an hour or more. Some people might get bored with this, I find the perspective is always new.
If I open my mind and look for the gifts of the walk I am never disappointed. Each walk provides a different and immersive experience. Whether I am getting comfortable in the elements of the weather or allowing my thoughts to flow into a synchronous, identifiable rhythm, each walk takes place on a familiar path; but eventually becomes somewhat unfamiliar as the unique unfolding of my consciousness begins. What will I take away from this walk? Will I gain a new insight? How will my thoughts branch out?
Nature helps – always busy reworking the landscape. I can simply change direction, or step off to a different path for a fresh interpretation. Lately, I never take a walk without a camera. Between the sky, the blooms and the birds, there is always something new and different to notice. Many times a photo becomes a precious bookmark for a momentary scene or feeling. The windblown sprig on the rocky asphalt reminds me of a sea creature, the red popcorn kernel of a bud erupting hints that the composition of spring is still a rough draft.
If I change the time of day of the walk new possibilities of awareness emerge. The walk can be a serene connection with the earth in the hours before or after the park becomes populated. It can take on a connection with neighbors, providing news and information. Or the walk might simply be a distanced connection with the activities important to those who live in my community. Only I can discover it’s intimate insight, the dawn of its truth! Once discovered, its dog-eared in my soul!
Have you ever felt a walk is like a poem?