Tai Chi Y3D168: Fair Lady Works Shuttles 1

Did 25 push-ups this morning, in addition to tai chi and the two qi gong exercises.  The push-ups came in a set of 14, and a second set of 11. By the end I felt wiped out.

Fair Lady Works the Shuttles is an interesting movement.  It’s actually the same movement, performed four times, pointing at the four corners of the room (at least as I do it; I understand there are variants). I learned it as four moves, though, and it’s been important enough to my practice that I’m going to write a sonnet about each of the four movements. (I’d also like to point out that I did my tai chi at about 5:30 this morning… but I’m not getting around to the poem until late in the day… a sign of the start of school!)

 Let both arms unfold from the elbow twist,
while the weight is on the back foot.  And now
push forward, with hands flat. You get the gist:
the right hand pressing outward and down low
left hand out too, but high before the face;
stop when both hands are just above the knees,
and extend beyond the toes just a trace.
Shift weight back, then front, through these secret keys:
Weight goes back, and left toes turn right angle;
Weight goes front, hands carry chi on left hip;
Right foot steps steps behind left, on diagonal;
and the whole body starts to twist and flip —
So right foot — behind —becomes right-in-front,
and left foot front gets left behind in shunt.

I think that’ll work.  One of the things I’ll have to remember is that the eventual four poems of the Fair Lady Works the Shuttles sequence include a lot of things, like carrying the ball, and the secret keys of footwork, which become metaphors that I can reference in the next poems as shorthand for the bigger elements. It’s kind of like the quotation, is it Wendell Berry or John Muir, that when you pull a thread attached to something, the whole universe gradually unfolds along with the single thread.  I kind of feel like that here — I’m leaving myself keys and metaphors to use in any eventual revision of this poem, regardless of whether I come this way again, or not.

Update: there’s a pair of rhymes, in lines 1 and 3, that tripped me up for a long time this morning. I finally solved it so that I could finish the poem, but I’m not happy with the solution.  When I tried to leave a note to myself to fix a pair of lines, though, I wound up ruining the poem’s scansion. So I’m listing the problem here in notes, so the poem stays in the right format.

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