1. A new marathon1

Who am I?
A completely long lost tornado-speed.
Yesterday my supremely uncooperative body
Ran the New York Marathon.
The lightning-arrows of anxieties
And worries did not attack me.
I must say, they have
Always
Been very kind to me.
They do not knock at my heart's door.
No, not even by mistake!
But cramps,
My unfailing friends, came and
Shook hands with me gently
Even before I had covered eleven miles.
Usually they come to befriend me
At the eighteenth mile.
But this time, after fifteen miles,
They desired to lavish
Infinitely more affection on me.
So they embraced me most avidly
And most powerfully.
Alas, alas!
From fifteen miles on,
I dragged my ill-fated body,
At times with my compassion-smiles,
At times with my frustration-cries.
To my great joy and sublime relief,
The worst possible nightmare
Finally ended
At the end of twenty-six miles.

One marathon-world
Leads me into another marathon-world.
To satisfy this new marathon-world,
Or to be satisfied by this new one, will be
Infinitely — I really mean it —
More difficult.
For here it is not just twenty-six miles
and 385 yards to run,
But to sow the seeds
Of ten thousand flaming flower-poems
Which at long last I shall place
Devotedly, unreservedly and unconditionally
At the Compassion-Feet
Of my Beloved Supreme.


  1. FF 1-70. These seventy poems were written on a Pan Am flight to Japan on 22 October 1979.