The Man who Danced with a Cane
Tomorrow, tomorrow, it's coming too fast
                young moon and stars light the night;
I fret in my van, surrounded by gear
                fearing oversleep of the morning task
The light of dawn shows low fog en masse
                slowly climbing Hurricane Point;
The photographer prays fog stays low
                until the marathon-runners pass
But no, it pushes up that face
                'til an invisible hand presses down;
I let out a sigh of huge relief
                and give silent thanks for the grace
Tomorrow's here, and augurs well
                I roam around to choose some views;
Soon Power Walkers come and pass
then marathoners chasing hell
I wait and watch for the subtle rapture
                between land-forms and life-forms,
colors and shapes, that instant of feeling
                signaling the moment of capture
I remember 'twas here, ago fourteen years
                where a marathon-poster sprang forth;
The nine-mile mark, where the Point is first seen
                a mixture of beauty, joy, and fears
Now I must rush to the next viewing thrill
                and climb high above the Hurricane Point;
Omigod! --- the brush --- it's above my chest --
                can I thrash to the top of the hill?
With ski poles I wrestle, to yells from below
                "You fool, you're in Poison Oak?!!!"
I reply " Yes, I am" and ponder a stop
                but the answer I already know
Deep in sweat I arrive, alas there's no 'fridge!
                but panorama's alive;
So I put it to film, then down again
                racing on to Bixby Bridge
Here, too, I normally climb, but the plan
                is dashed by impassable growth;
Ground-level it is, with no Jonathan Lee
                but a new Grand Piano Man
As before, what I want, and carefully seek
                is an uncluttered musical view;
But alas --- with the moment ready to freeze
                into view comes a frizzy old geek
My lips pinch/purse, I try not to scowl
                but wait don't I know this man?
I've seen him, I've heard him, or have I?
                is this the Big Sur poet-owl ?
He talks with the player, asks for a tune
                turns to me and says "shall I dance?"
And lest I demur, he struts out with his cane
                and jigs like a youth in Cancun
Indeed, it is he the Poet Supreme
                Ric Masten, this marathon's King;
Dance he can, and dance he does
                and makes the photographer beam
It's these moments of joy, of beauty or fun
                that fire the flame in me;
Quickly compose 'em, the moment frozen
                to share with everyone
When the song is done, he comes to me
                "Can you spare a minute or two?'
"I must go to my car, I'll be right back"
                "I've something I want you to see"
He's off with his cane, I pause for some looks
                at the waves in the ocean below
I sit on a rock, and when he returns
                in one hand he carries some books
"What your name?: he says "Ron" say I --
                a pen appears in his hand;
"To Ron" he writes, and I start to cry
                not aloud, but deep inside
For my life has, of late, been mostly of grief,
                for the loss of a hearth-song dream
And this poet could see that deep within me
                was a need for rekindled belief
From his books of poems, he reads with a flair
                as only the author can do;
 "I brought these", he says, "to give to someone ---
                some things I wanted to share"
Before I move on, from this meeting of chance
                a poem-song framed he presents
From his sagely youth, how apropos (!)
          on life "Let it be a Dance"
Ahead of me, more stops will remain
                more moments to see, feel, and frame
But nothing so fine as the moments this day
                with the man who danced with a cane.
                 Written 4/28/2004 for Ric Masten.







Copyright 2004, 2007, Ron Alan Pierce


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