The Runner

Photo by Ashwin Pradhan on

I stumbled across the following poem, The Runner, by Allen Grossman. As I read it over and over again his words made a deep impression within me and caused me to dwell for a while and ponder his lines. In trying to discover the nature of this poem, Grossman writes “My poetry is a direct consequence of a motive as intimate and necessary to me as life itself, to construct a world consistent with the desire of a world which I encountered in the heart and soul of my mother.” He senses that poetry originates not with ourselves but with our mothers, who first gave us the words that became our world. His is an interesting thought, and one worth considering. As I have said before, poems once printed are what you make of them, their meaning is no longer controlled by their author!

The Runner
The man was thinking about his mother
And about the moon.

It was a mild night.
He was running under the stars. The moon
had not risen,

but he did not doubt it would
Rise as he ran.

Small things crossed the road
or turned uneasily on it. His mother
Was far away, like a cloud on a mountain
With rainy breasts. The man was not a runner
But he ran with strength.

After a while, the moon
Did rise among the undiminished stars,
And he read as he ran the stone night-scripture
Of the moon by its own light.

Then his mother
Came and ran beside him, smelling of rain;
And they ran on all night, together,
Like a man and his shadow.

Holy God,
you spoke the world into existence,
and your breath makes all breath possible.
As the galaxies continue to be unveiled
through the power of the telescope we catch a glimpse
of untold mystery, and stand in silence and in awe.
O Creator God,
there is so much that we do not know.
Today we offer to you O Lord,
a prayer of thanksgiving for life and
a prayer of confession because
all too often and all too quickly
we take so much for granted.
Gently remind us that we are made in your image,
and in that reminding, move us to become at one
and the same time, ever more holy and ever more human.
Help us to be careful with the words we speak, and in our speaking
might we speak love and grace, hope and renewal. Amen.

One thought on “The Runner

  1. There is a coincidence here. Earlier this week my husband and I had a conversation about the meaning of the William Blake poem and beautiful hymn, Jerusalem, and afterwards we did some quick research and found an interpretation by Allen Grossman. Well written and succinct, his connection of the literal and figurative provided great clarity. As I read the Runner now, several times, my simplistic conclusion is that Grossman calls on his memory of the strength of his mother to move him forward through whatever task he hopes to accomplish and I am reminded of the many times I have heard it said that our mothers are always with us, even after their passing. I like the poem, and your prayer is beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

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