Listen! Can you hear it? The hot breath
of the stampede, huffing, puffing, chuffing
on the track of another venture, filling the air
with particulate matter, the exhaust of
other races, other dreams, dwindling fire.
Touch it! Can you feel it? The giddy, tactile
excitement of new runners, chasing after
what will soon be not enough. Every moment
is but practice for the pursuit of a shiny prize,
won with each step that ends when they
snap the tape, defining the line crossed.
For every new runner, there is no bitter taste
of failure; no memory of loss to contemplate
between the cocking and the firing of a starter’s pistol,
no time yet passed, awake, searching for clarity
of the ideal that has become muddy and indistinct.
Defeated veterans know the cost, but fail to count it.
Overcome, craving the impossible possible triumph
glittering irresistibly within another attempt. Today
is the day when the tumult of silent apathy
is softer than the clinking coins tumbling from
the cup of victory, snatched at last from
the pockets of another’s luck. They cannot see
the uneasy shuffling of past success, trailing
far behind, who amaze themselves at their audacity;
and wonder, confused that they would continue
pursuit of what will never be enough. . .