So I’m just going to come out and say it; I never found a traditional poem structure that I liked for the topic I was trying to write about. The topic was a feeling I’ve been chasing for almost as long as I can remember. I’ve been practising parkour for 10 years (9 years, 11 months, and 2 weeks, roughly) with supplementary gymnastics, unicycling for 5 years, pole fitness for 2 years, a number of circus skills for varying lengths of time, and skateboarding every now and then too. There’s a reason I’ve never been a huge fan of playing team sports, and why I’ve always pursued extreme or personal sports: so I can better myself, set my own targets and monitor my progress as it happens by coming back to what I know.
As for the poem itself, I ended up using a regular line length, but without regular meters or rhythm, hoping to capture the fact that all of these sports vary as the participant follows them, and each person creates their own version of it. Additionally, the actual sports themselves have different parts that have different flows and rhythms, so I thought a set rhythm for the poem wouldn’t quite represent it. So, the following is a poem entitled “Contact” about the feelings and place I love to be.
We believed that those who could fly were freed,
But we love instead the instant impact,
And crave the constraints of constant contact.
We crave and create this freedom we need.
The freedom is coming back down to earth,
At precisely where we desire to be,
By grounding ourselves, we set ourselves free,
The cost of contact is the freedom’s worth.
We dig in our toes, and gripping on tight,
The blessing is flying, contact the art,
While the pain is falling short of the mark,
And fear of pain makes the freedom a fight.
No fall can match the pain of the heartbreak,
We feel when we fail to meet our own mind,
But bodies can push to suffer the grind,
And expectations overrule the ache.
Our sights are as high as our joyous hearts,
To learn from styles of friends and rivals.
Our perspectives bend to our obstacles,
To those that exist, and those we impart.
The flow and grind, the pain and elation,
Build our bodies to fight with hardened hands,
The Goliath that is our self-demands,
That greatest foe, our own expectations.
Fleeting moments outweigh the dirt and sweat,
To find the heart that in your throat resides,
Roaring to push yourself from the inside,
To do the rare things that are yet unmet.
The rush of gliding is the flight we chase,
Freedom dependent on our work and choice,
Half gambling, investing in faith like boys,
But our faith in what we know is well placed.
Yesterday you were artless and naked,
This morning you feared to set foot on ground,
But in ten minutes your heart has been found,
The fire is not so easily wasted.
We leap, hoping, and never look down,
Until our toes bend and our hands are grazed,
The rush of the knife’s edge stays the same,
The childish rush that is living out loud.
There is power found in the precision,
The power to make each of us a king,
To rule our home and to rule our living,
To hush our bodies and have them listen.
When deserved, you will find that old lost heart,
And the kindred sincerely share your joy,
As you blaze your own trail, or simply join,
This world we make where we each play our part.
Sharing rainy days and endless summers,
And songs revive milestones on this journey,
Those moments, though fleeting, when we were free,
Able to own exactly what we are.
We build our own world and we walk its miles,
To share our knowledge and experience,
We share in each other’s accomplishments,
And we share the pain, and we share the smiles.
All of us are in a different act,
And we each feel our own world of control,
But we share our art and it makes us whole,
With passion, each other, and the contact.