Bike Visiting

Bike Visiting

A Poem by holly
"

There's no dignity in aging - maybe that's why some kids understand the old instinctively

"

Summertime sets me an' Jansey free.

In winter, we got big girls' bikes.

Eight was old enough our mothers said.

Old enough to just turn up at noon

for sandwiches and dinner right at six -

sometimes we miss them,

never hear our mothers screaming

out the back doors, miles away

from freedom - we meet each other in the street.

She on her red, me on my blue,

we always half believe that we have ponies -

small town cowgirls riding metal horses

in the time of "Wagon Train" an' "Davey." 

Where do ya wanna go today?

 

Is there an answer other than "Explore!"?

I don't remember it, if so.

Our tennis shoes flapping at our heels,

our hair exploding out into the wind,

our shorts cling wetly to our skinny legs

with all the yellow-purple bruises, 'cause we collided

sometimes with the gravel on old back roads.

Off Hankins Road past Sippo Creek the roads turn poor:

no paving and the gravel thinned, 'cause all was back there

was some run down farms and houses that we dare ourselves

to wander. Old buildings suck us in.

Policemen chase us out, "...before ya kill yerselves,

ya stupid girls." We wait until  we're on the road

to laugh at them - what did they know?

 

We were immortal, and gold clouds swung

out from our wingtips as we soared

(our horses turned to Pegasi). Then down

to reddish earth again and just ahead

our favorite spot. The place we know we're welcome

grows bigger as we pump our tired legs.

Our bikes, now horses once again, head toward

the treeless yard and broken barn as though

they were unwatered and unfed. As we are.

There they are - Mr. John and Mrs. Lily Prince.

Well named, these ancient Princes wait for us

with cold hard water and some apples from their tree.

There's but the one, and it unfit for climbing.

It's dying in the dust and well water's drying.

 

"Next year," she tells us, "we just have to move.

Our daughter says we can't keep up and this

old place will be the death of us." Her eyes,

in clouds with cataracts and longing, search

our dirty faces for an answer. We had none.

Now he shows us through the naked barn:

Jennie died two years before, laid down inside

her stall and couldn't rise and Mr. John he cried

again for his old cow, his friend, his longtime friend.

He held our hands, then let them go to dry his eyes.

"Wish I could get that well to water up as easy,"

the old Prince jokes and turns us back to see his fields.

Standing still and gazing toward the sky:

"Only grew tomatoes and some beans this year" he says.

 

"Just too hard to work the clay it seems, and Mother's hands

scarcely stand the canning any more." So I look down

as if to find some comfort in the dust. Not quite sad,

but wishing for a something that I don't quite know,

I look at Janesy. She's staring back at me and making

squiggles with her brows. It means, "I'm hungry" or

"I'm bored." We aren't at one for once. She wants to go.

I ask the mister if we can feed the single chicken.

So we get feed and wander out behind the barn

to where she spends her days (her nights within

the house where no rat takes her), and Janesy

kicks me. She wants to go. Spitefully, I take a

long, long time to feed the bird. The next day,

when my blue horse and I return, I go alone.

 

 

 


© 2010 holly



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Featured Review

This is absolutely fabulous! A bit of reminiscing, a bit of sadness and a whole lot of wisdom. One little girl willing to spend time with people whom the world seems to have forgotten. It makes me want to cry ... for lost youth ... for the world I near where very few will have time to spend with me.

One teensy niggle ... Stanza 2 Line 1 says ...

==Is there answer other than "Exploring!"==

...should it be ...

==Is there an answer other than "Exploring!"==

Stupendous poem !!

Posted 7 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

This is great on so many levels; really admire how you've dealt with the complexities of being a kid, in terms of:

friends having different maturity/attention spans, not always grasping the mood the way we wanted them to - "We aren't at one for once. She wants to go."

sensing that something is troubling but not exactly sure how you're meant to feel - "wishing for a something that I don't quite know"

that moment when you strike out for a little independence from a friend, voluntarily or not...the adventures you have when you're by yourself. It's both exciting and sad somehow...we can almost recapture that weird casserole of emotions as adults, if we go for a walk alone in a new place.

In addition to all of the above, you also conveyed the fun and nostalgic aspects; I never exactly considered my bike to be a horse (although my sister did with hers), but I definitely personnified it and I'd talk to it in my head, especially in out-of-control-down-the-hill-moments "fly fly oh s**t please fly" lol.

Overall, a genuinely excellent poem; great pacing, tone, voice, language...everything, basically.
Like Charles, I'm also a little curious about the
"gold clouds" that "swung out from our wingtips", although this image didn't jar for me, I think i just read it as a generalised kids' fantasy.

Great write. Thanks for sharing it, and also for the reviews the other day.


Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I enjoyed this immensely. The era and rural setting is a familiar one and appeals to me mightily. That's how I grew up, too--riding bikes, exploring and finding adventure behind every tree, rock, and old barn. Oh, to be ten again and ride my red and white Western Flyer faster than the wind. (us boys liked to put baseball cards on our spokes)

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

this needs to be published, it's wonderful, get it out there

Posted 7 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

This is an amazingly complex poem - the homey language, the subtle tense shifts (well done, by the way), the punctuation related to quotes and changing emphasis between the girls. Great flow and good imagery. Tells a real tale and sets the scene so well. I'm puzzled by only one thing (not a technical aspect of the poem, maybe something girls of the period would know but not us boys of the same approximate age) - it's the line 'our gold clouds swung out from our wingtips.' Very nice work on this 'time piece.'

Posted 7 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

This is beautiful, stunning, remarkable! I love the flow and feel of it, the history, the explorations .. the way you express your earlier days when immortality seems assured. As to the way you reacted/react to Mr. John, it's touching and made me gasp a tear away!

'Old buildings suck us in' - yes, I understand that, they have mystery .. they're places to creep into, to inhale, to examine! ' So I look down as if to find some comfort in the dust ' - now there's empathy!

A wonderful post .. and beautifully formatted


Posted 7 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Oh, this was very moving. Sad, touching, and a real depth of understanding. Excellently done...

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is absolutely fabulous! A bit of reminiscing, a bit of sadness and a whole lot of wisdom. One little girl willing to spend time with people whom the world seems to have forgotten. It makes me want to cry ... for lost youth ... for the world I near where very few will have time to spend with me.

One teensy niggle ... Stanza 2 Line 1 says ...

==Is there answer other than "Exploring!"==

...should it be ...

==Is there an answer other than "Exploring!"==

Stupendous poem !!

Posted 7 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.


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Added on May 15, 2010
Last Updated on May 17, 2010

Author

holly
holly

near Cleveland, OH



About
Do we get to choose who we are, or are we limited by where we live, how we grow up, what we do to earn money? My unchosen facts: I'm old, live in the eastern Mid-West US, grew up with a huge chip on m.. more..

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