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Down, down, cruising on the country road
One perfect moment reveals the next:
Eyes fused to the landscape whizzing by
While the tongue of sweet wind
Seems to lick throughout the skin;
The scent of pungent soil and tree sap
Delights the face with primal smelling;
My body is suspended in the joy of balance-
This must be how the spiraling bird feels
Surfing the wind currents among the clouds!

My senses are saturated with speed
And the fullness of their possibilities-
My mind shuts down to a purity
Of rapture, to a knowable paradise-
Not by revelation, not by love or by possession.

How quickly forgotten is the angry will
On the tedious ascent, the grinding teeth
Among the grunts and bellowed breathing
As the brain screamed its military orders
To muscles tightly fisted below the sweat-
Singularly obsessed with reaching the top.

Then all becomes strangely quiet, thoughtless,
Immune to all but the rush of descent
And the whistling of the wheels
For the journey to sea level.

Last few words: 
All the bike riders out there I hope will relate...
Editing stage: 


Perfect,that line blow my mind.
thank you for sharing that poem with the world.

that I was riding right along side of you! ~ Gee.

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Critique or comment today!

And I think the ride uphill is a bit easier with that cool bike of yours! What a great rush of feeling comes from motobiking. You just enjoy the power and speed, and go sailing on the roads!

Of course the poem is symbolic for any activity in which the labor to achieve a goal is followed by instant karma, such as spending hours cooking for a meal which is eaten in 10 minutes...somehow you just forget about the work that went in and just enjoy the reward! Sea level is symbolic of the blasee life when not involved with a difficult task.

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

that you alone are the best and most pragmatic rider
one can ever come across
you are indeed one to emulate
we must sir

You are abs right when you say...
'''''We are reeling through an era
Much like 'twas in times of Nero
he loved a HARP
like you do a song or two
lovely words in silence
emanate from Sir

for your most creative commentaries.

Tis true Nero supposedly played a harp, not the fiddle as is sometimes suggested, as it would be more than another thousand years or before it was invented.
Pretty sure you are far more accomplished poet than he was, too!

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

I must bow
I am a learner since birth
just read two of you comments
a million dollars worth

Hope you will also bless me
with your being so much a visionary

I am working on NERO
'Twill take some time
as I don't want to comment on those
who are young and commit suicide.
ou have also heard of dotard
he is thirty two also

It is so beautifully narrated. I loved the power of story (very masterful I must confess). But then I had a little problem with the construction of the last line, something feels off about SEA LEVEL. As though you over heightened the resolution for a poem that should have been an utterly leveled ride. Other than that, it was so lovely.

The idea of sea level to me was that state of just living in the normal state, not pushing yourself up a hill or whatever hard task and then experiencing the exultation of the ride down. Sea level is just coasting along with your normal routine. The core of the poem is about the truth of sensory fulfillment - At east for my self,I have noticed the pain of a task is quickly forgotten when the reward is offered. Like traveling 16 hours on a plane to get somewhere- how fast you forget the uncomfortable seats and anxious hours when you land and are in that different place. How fast you forget all the hassle to cook when you enjoy eating. How fast you forget the pain of biking uphill when you get that ride down. And that "high" seems to come from our senses- not our brains,not by owning something, but when the senses are content. No intellectual revelation feels as good as a good massage. In the end we are sensory beings. Pain is so quickly forgotten- the memory of pain is very abstract after the pain subsides. But the memory of pleasure lasts.

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

Okay. I get you now, at least from your own point of view. I particularly like the poem, really. Just haven't been able to understand why the arrival at SEA LEVEL attains such glorification by being called REAL and a DREAMY RELEASE. It makes the ride before sea level feel less gratifying. And if the core of the poem is sensory fulfillment, how is it that you used words like RAPTURE to describe the earlier journey?

have evolved in our culture. I hear the word rapture, once a religious term, being used quite often as another way of saying high exultation. I checked on RhymeZone which had the word uses 66 times in different ways, mostly by rappers (including Jay-Z and Snoop Dog). Check it out, very interesting

So the idea i was trying to convey was that the speed and great feeling of going downhill filled all my senses with joy and completion to a type of pure joy, and go further in suggesting that this sensory "paradise" is the only one that's real. This great feeling cannot be attained any other way- either by the mind, the emotions, or the joy of owning things (possession).
Thank you for really digging into this poem and considering its many words and images. The poem took about 20 hours to write over several days, every word counts. That is our craft, just like every note counts in a musical composition, or every paint stroke. I am holding on to your suggestions, and will consider them again as I get a little distance form the poem.

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

I miss riding bikes. Hopefully i can resume it after getting my second knee fixed next year. You really captured the joy of coasting down a hill with the wind in your face and the scent of life surrounding you. now a few ideas you might mull over :
Stanza 1, line 7 :change scent to smell
S-1, L-8 change smelling to scent
* last 2 lines of this stanza are most excellent
S-2, L-3 try "My mind condensed to a purity"
S-3 last line try "the obsession of reaching the top"
Last stanza second line : change "a " to that
Just a few ideas you can mull over...........stan

I will surely consider your comments. I kept on going back and forth with smell vs smelling, especially
attached to "primal" .
I think the idea of "that" will work better. I will consider the others.
Tomorrow I will read the poem to my workshop poetry group in Washington DC and after ll the comments are in i'll do some of these minor revisions.
I have very bad arthritis in one knee, now all crooked, but I am able to walk (not run) and bike
(not easy up and down stairs) and I have a good brace so I still hobble around the squash court, I was a tournament level player. That's why I'm putting off the inevitable new knee, nobody gets back on the squash court with a knee replacement..hips and ankles maybe, not knee. I hope to get a few years more out of it, I'm only 68. (only!)

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

in a total knee replacement the ACL is removed and that really decreases the joint stability. I've been building up the muscles which support it but there will never come the day that sudden direction changes will be back in my agenda. But the pain got so bad there was little choice.....stan

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