The Racer

Late last year I was looking for some poems about running that I could put up at work. See, the password policy had changed and the password to login needs to be complex and change frequently and I can’t remember them. But if I have a poem, I can use phrases from the poem to create my password and because the poem is up on my cubicle wall, I have a prompt at hand. The running poems does not look out of place, it is underneath my Up and Running 5K course certificate.

One of the poems I found is The Racer by John Masefield. John Masefield was an English poet and writer (1878-1967) and was the poet laureate of the UK from 1930.

I saw the racer coming to the jump,
Staring with fiery eyeballs as he rusht,
I heard the blood within his body thump,
I saw him launch, I heard the toppings crusht.

And as he landed I beheld his soul
Kindle, because, in front, he saw the Straight
With all its thousands roaring at the goal,
He laughed, he took the moment for his mate.

Would that the passionate moods on which we ride
Might kindle thus to oneness with the will;
Would we might see the end to which we stride,
And feel, not strain, in struggle, only thrill.

And laugh like him and know in all our nerves
Beauty, the spirit, scattering dust and turves.

And because I had to look it up… turves is the plural for ‘turf’ and so means ‘grass and the surface layer of earth held together by its roots’ and that is a nice running surface.

The third verse really speaks to me – here it is again

Would that the passionate moods on which we ride
Might kindle thus to oneness with the will;
Would we might see the end to which we stride,
And feel, not strain, in struggle, only thrill.

If I could only focus that emotion I have into getting the job done! And if I could take the effort and have that spur me on! Even the difficult times, knowing that I was making progress. I would surely reach my goals!

I read this poem maybe once a week, and think about the struggles on the journey. Getting up early to go running when I don’t want, pushing myself to finish a workout when I want to stop, not eating the chocolate last night because I had eaten enough food yesterday, food planning, food prep in advance and all of the little things like tracking food and making sure the washing is done so I have clean workout clothes which can seem a burden. It is all part of the journey. Sometimes it is a strain and a burden and sometimes I don’t get it all done. But I want the goal. I want the ‘far off’ health and fitness that I am striving for. I want to go walking with my grandchildren in 30 years time.

I like this poem. And it is good to have things about me which help me reflect on the journey, that the choices I make today are important for the long term goal.

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One response to “The Racer

  1. I agree, it is an inspiring poem. And a reminder to us that we should feel the thrill when we exercise and not the hardship.

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