Photo: Antônio Milena/ABr.
Poet in residence
Yoga Class Overlooking Four Oxen, Four Parked Cars, Two Pick-Up Trucks and One Blue Heron
BY MAGAZINE COLUMNIST CARYN MIRRIAM-GOLDBERG
The oxen that sun themselves on the driveway
each have prayers for names, love messages in Hindi,
that make them gaze at the falling-down tall grass
with awe and hunger. Upstairs, mats unfurled, the floor
captures the last slants of afternoon, the light
moving its hips suddenly with each new inversion
of the sky. On my back, my feet dangling above,
I think of the sandy silk of the ox’s coat,
how much my thighs hurt, how to breathe
to uncoil the terror in my throat
until we roll and stand on one leg,
the other aching toward the shining wall.
Just over my shoulder, the blue heron swims
a current to the wetlands, alone in the grasp
of sunset, crossed through one window, then
the other until it vanishes into the dimming light.
The cars and trucks below have rusty dreams
full of companionship and speed.
By the time we’re lying in corpse pose, opening
the hesitant chest to the dark room, letting
the legs fall open, the whole body no longer
floating but landed in the blue light
we make time from, I realize the oxen below,
on the winter ground, simply adjust to the dark
by opening the stars of their eyes and waiting.
Reprinted with permission of the author
from Landed (Mammoth Publications, 2009).
Wherever you practice yoga, whether in the middle of a big city on the 10th floor of a nondescript building, or out in the savannas of Kenya, you’re in a specific place. Here is your opportunity to honor that place.
Write about where you’re practicing, and feel free to personify (that is, give human characteristics to the non-human things and species) what’s around you. While you’re in downward dog, what is the roof about you thinking? When you’re doing sun salutations, what might be the gerbil in the cage in the corner be dreaming about? See what comes.
Beginning a writing practice? Getting started, groundrules to free you, and podcasts of other writing prompts. Visit Caryn’s Write From Your Life page (http://carynmirriamgoldberg.wordpress.com/write-from-your-life/)
We may publish any content, comments or ideas sent to us.
Name may be withheld by request.
© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.