Nicholas Racheotes

Peripatology or The Art of the Walk

(listen to the poem, read by Diane R. Wiener)

She took to it as though dual walking were the most natural thing.

I held my hand out and she interlaced her fingers with mine,

as though it meant being steady without going steady.

She said, “How about the River?”

the Charles river is where so much of life pulses through the afternoon.

There’s a wooden row boat that plays like a xylophone

where the children of the Perkins lesser god strike the seats until they hear what they don’t see.

There are puppies and bikies, grandchildren and second children,

coloring the waterlilies and scullers in the languages of the world.

I collect hellos,

when people see people holding hands and looking up,

they say, “hello.”

She says, “Let’s have a code: two squeezes for step down and one for step up,”

and when we take it for a test drive, we approve.

On another day, she says, “Let’s do the neighborhood.”

We float up and down hills and she shows her age,

it’s less than half mine,

While I puff like a steam locomotive ready for the scrap yard,

she silently half smiles.

Sometimes, I make her laugh so hard that the house fronts echo.

Sometimes, we retreat into our own thoughts

and savor the companionable silences.

Other times, a worm sings in my ear,

“Just, a closer walk with Thee.”

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About the Author

Nicholas (Nick) S. Racheotes, Ph.D. is Emeritus Professor of History from Framingham State University and a Research Associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard. With his wife, Pat, he divides his time between Boston and Cape Cod. Aside from his scholarly works, the most recent of which is The Life and Thought of Filaret Drozdov, 1782-1867: The Thorny Path to Sainthood, Racheotes is a regular contributor to Vie Magazine, where his humorous articles on a variety of subjects may be read on line.