As the airwaves begin to bombard us with scenes from the Winter Olympic Games, from Sochi, Russia, it may be time to review what exactly it is like to partake in those events. And Winter Sport: Poems by Pricila Uppal, gives great examples of the endurance involved in those events.
Winter Sport Abecedarian (page 35)
Amazing bodies congregate:
daredevils emancipating future
glory, hearts intensely juggling
kamikaze leanings, miraculous
notions of perfection, quasi-
religious superstitions towards
ultimate velocity, weathered
x-rays yielding zen.
Uppal was the poet-in-residence for Canadian Athletes Now during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Her words illustrate well the sports we are all about to watch on our television sets in the next month.
Cross-Country (Page 42)
When the moment comes
you no longer feel your
legs, or the sun or the lips of
your boots, try not to panic –
the self still exists though in airy
collapsible form like the perfect
party invitation, and you move
without will or energy or pull or
perhaps even consciousness
(although how would I know
at this point since I’m telling you
I’m a slip of paper in the wind);
the hills and trails, mountains
and snow coalesce around
you, happy in complacency
and chameleon colours attuned
to your white mood. Soon the tracks
will leap up and break you out of this
careless condition – the sprint is on-
dashing you to the destination address
where friends will be waving hello
as you break the seal of goodbye.
Uppal’s words makes a reader understand what an athlete goes through as they compete. It is very easy just to sit back and watch, but to imagine what it is like to participate takes a whole new level of imagination.
The Ice Dance Is Perfect (Page 68)
Imagine your body
never complained of
Your legs are your
childhood – feel them,
but only for what they will
become: your arms protect your
family – no matter how far-flung,
knowledge of home
circles the ice.
Your back, my darling,
your back, surrender to it –
like the dream lover you
never dared approach
in the light, or like that god
you once believed in who
now reaches for you.
Winter Sport: Poems by Priscila Uppal is a perfect companion to watching this year’s Winter Olympics. Her words clearly allow the reader to understand what endurance in the sports is like.