to Bob Murphy
A poem about Tai Chi practice
sat in a terribly prickly place.
But he sang with a sunny sweet smile on his face:
When you're feeling sore,
when you can't take no more,
when you tremble and shake,
remember it's something you can't fake.
When you don't know what to do,
when you feel down and blue,
just remember what my teacher would say,
in his oh so teacherly way:
When you practice tai chi,
you have to practice with glee,
you have to practice every day,
this much he would definitely say.
You have to do better than the norm,
you have to follow my form,
you're not doing what you should,
because your form no good!
That's why I say to you,
we have so much more to do,
there's chapters two, three and four,
and then we'll practice some more.
The first chapter you haven't forgot,
and a slouch is something you're not,
so practice in a spirited way,
and your form too, will be good one day.
I went to my teacher,
after practicing every day,
and this is what I had to say:
I practice every day,
like your teacher once said,
but all I want is to go to bed.
My arms are tired,
my legs are sore,
I don’t know if I can take anymore!
Turn this way and that,
bend at the knee,
this is not giving me any glee!
When I finished my sorrows,
I looked at his face,
and I knew right then I didn’t have a case.
I told you before and I’ll tell you again,
you must practice a thousand times,
then times it by ten.
He paused for a moment,
I knew it was true,
but did I have to practice until I was blue?
I waited a while longer,
then he looked me in the eye,
I knew right then he wouldn’t tell me a lie.
Sometimes you will be sore,
and sometimes you will feel pain,
but I guarantee you won’t need a cane.
Tai chi builds patience,
this much it will do,
and think of everything it’s doing for you.
It’s making you stronger,
it’s building up steam,
when you feel it’s power you begin to beam.
Your face gets rosy,
you blood pumps faster,
I hardly think this is a disaster.
I thanked him for his time,
and left him where he sat,
with a grin on his face like a Cheshire cat.
I thought about his words,
that night laying in bed,
while my whole body was feeling like lead.
My teacher was right,
I will practice the next day,
and continue practicing in a spirited way.
I won’t be tired,
my legs will be stronger,
I won’t have to complain any longer.
My form is getting better,
this much I can see,
“of course”, my teacher would say,
“you practice with me”!