Thursday, May 23, 2013

Poetry Friday: The Song of the Ungirt Runners

Check out Poetry Friday at Jama's Alphabet Soup

This poem appeared on Poetry Friday in 2010 from Bashfully Designed. Since I am running a race for the first time in almost two years on Saturday, I wanted to share The Song of the Ungirt Runners. The author, Charles Hamilton Sorley, was a soldier in World War I who died at the age of 20. What strikes me about this poem is the line "We do not run for prize." I don't run for a prize. I run because it makes me feel better. It helps me deal with the stress of teaching in this age. Running teaches me how to grind out mile after mile and to push forward when I would rather stop. This is helpful when it is February and I don't want to get out of bed to face the day. 

The Song of the Ungirt Runners
We swing ungirded hips
And lighten’d are our eyes,
The rain is on our lips,
We do not run for prize.
We know not whom we trust
Nor whitherward we fare,
But we run because we must
Through the great wide air.
The waters of the seas
Are troubled as by storm.
The tempest strips the trees
And does not leave them warm.
Does the tearing tempest pause?
Do the tree-tops ask it why?
So we run without a cause
’Neath the big bare sky.
The rain is on our lips,
We do not run for prize.
But the storm the water whips
And the wave howls to the skies.
The winds arise and strike it
And scatter it like sand,
And we run because we like it
Through the broad bright land.


  1. Wonderful poem -- so inspiring! Good Luck in your race tomorrow :).

  2. This poem has that "Chariots of Fire" feel to it - that blissful exuberant love of running for the joy ot it. Lovely.

  3. Great poem! I love that we can connect to people from long ago through poetry. It reminds me of how writing is for me sometimes, that feeling of just being compelled. Enjoy your race tomorrow!

  4. Inspiring poem - perfect motivation for your race. Good luck!
    I especially like the lines:
    "But we run because we must
    Through the great wide air."
    That is why I run - though these days the air is getting rather hot.(in Tucson) =)

  5. Yes, Tara took the words out of my mouth -- I thought of Chariots of Fire as I read this, too! Hope the race went well!

  6. Good luck on the race! (And on the race to the end of the school year!!)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.