Tis the week before Christmas and all through the park

Not a creature is stirring.  It’s gotten too dark.

The trees are all leafless, and the Ramble is bare

Run up Harlem hill? Only on a dare.


Bethesda is turned off, a toilet your wish?

If you must hydrate? Go elsewhere to piss.

No 5Ks, or 10, no ultras or halves

No sane person is out there, you’d have to be daft.


Neither rain nor sleet you may well have guessed

No sun or moon shines on Drive east or west

No taxis or cycles if it’s lightning or snow

Yet a Merm will be out there, perhaps even two.


Onto Delecourt Oval there comes such a clatter,

A wave of deep purple arrives with much chatter.

Lead on by our trainer, our coach, Julie’s spouse,

Neil prods, and he pushes, though we constantly grouse.

More rapid than eagles his students they came

And he whistles and shouts and calls us by name.


‘No stopping, no walking, or are you asleep?

More butt kicks, and fartlicks, pick up your damn feet

Skip up the West hillside, lope up to Cat Hill!

Hands under your armpits and quack like a duck?

Why should we do this, whatever the fuck!


Move it Shirley & Joan, Ilene & Roberta

What happened to Kathy & Barbra, & oh & who is Ina?

Faster Karen, both Susans, both Judy’s & Jun

Cindy’s lost once again; will she find us quite soon?

Please stop dragging your feet, Elyse, Patti, Louise

You must try to keep up with the pace if you please?


Now Dasher, now Dancer, now Prancer & Vixen

There goes Susan R & O’Dell aha Linda Dixon

Our Joanie made news in the Times science section

She is either bionic or caused by natural selection


To Ms. Moffat, Ms. Worth and even Ms. Leonard,

If being a Merm is still your decision

Keep aging and aging, you’ll success at your mission.

Alexa, & Kim & Jane all are missin!

On Comet, On Cupid, on Donner & Blitzen

(Wait that’s the wrong poem)


Welcome back to our Pat from the world there at large

Was it worth leaving the city and being in charge?

Does your sense of direction need a course correction?

You must reminder…Erin isles to the NORTH… the Keys are still SOUTH

Aussies lean to the LEFT… and the French are always RIGHT!


So MERMS come in all sizes, all shapes you can bet

Merms only requirement is your age and the sweats

The group is eclectic, oddly strange and diverse

We’re all in the same boat for better or worse.

So with love and affection I present this small bit.

Yet if you dislike it, I say tough shit!


To all of the Merms, our friends and our loved ones

May the season bring health, great joy, & swift runs

Whether we all get together or oft out of sight

We wish Seasons Greetings to all and to all a good night.


Laurie Iselin

December 3, 2006                                                                                     Back