Saturday’s Poem: The Bicycle

The picture above of Monte and a friend (Joe Breeze, I think) was taken about thirty years ago by Dean Bradley, and I certainly could have found more recent bike shots, but this is the first one that came up in my files, and I like it.  Aside from the fact that Monte looked cute in his shorts and knee socks, I think it captures some of the simple exuberance of a bike ride. I experienced it myself a few days ago, when I did my Ballard Canyon loop again on a brisk, bright morning. I’ve been enjoying hiking lately, but the thing about a bike ride is there are those intermittent periods of bliss, when you’ve done the hard part and then you’re just coasting along or sailing downhill, feeling like a little kid again. And the bicycle itself is such a perfect example of good technology, an object both beautiful and functional, fueled by nice clean pedal power. So here’s a bicycle poem:

THE BICYCLE by Stan Rice

That which is, for example,
the bicycle
stands out
among other things, its wheels, fierce,
its substance.For example
the spokes are. Spinning
they are even more surely, by which
we recognize the life-light around the hub
and under the brain’s thin skin work
a thought for the rightness with which
its fenders join with the frame,
the handlebars, the accuracy, the pureness.
In the same radiance most things
stand, ugly, harmonic, stand
for us to mount
and ride out, clicking, handbrakes cool steel
handbrakes, alive more than ever
to what is, our vision fashioned to please
the legs, the way things
devicelessly wreck us with their perfect chains
in two oily wheels and wreck our
bodies, that we might somehow
rise out of this twofold spinning or leaning,
happy at last, furiously at rest,
a thing so rightly joined
the chain and frame
will never pull, for example, apart
from where we are going.

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2 Responses to Saturday’s Poem: The Bicycle

  1. kit says:

    No helmets.
    No Spandex.
    No logos.
    What’s wrong with these guys … are they just trying to have fun?

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