43 The Other Runner Recalling, during a drought, a rainy day last year Wind spread the rain across the glass, I hearing it While reading Milton all day long, and looking up From time to time, to wonder when it would stop, And then forgetting rain, in the warm room where I sat. Then arriving at the beach: yellow-brown breakers lit From under a slowly lifting ledge of cloud — the tops Catching the level blaze, and darkness soon to drop, And for my run the sand wave-beaten hard and flat. I ran alone, leaving some saunterers behind, Beside a set of fresh footprints so far apart I couldn’t match them long, and slowed my pace, resigned; Thinking of Milton, no, of every excellence How it exhilarates and humiliates the heart; High waves nearing both sets of our footprints. 87