Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Rider, by Naomi Shihab Nye

There is a slight Easternness to this poem, a simplicity of sadness and lightness combined which appeals to me, particularily a Japanese feel towards the end with the pink petals silently falling. This is the image that remains with me after reading it, and the main reason why I want to go back reading the poem over - the slow, soft petals that are barely pink, existing next to nothing, held up by air alone in a waltz teasing gravity.

The overall feel of sportmanship to this poem (and what underlies the wish to win) is not at all unsuiting in these olympic times, either.

I have never heard of this poet before, though she might be very well known in the English speaking literary world. Sometimes being a Norwegian, a Scandinavian, makes me feel like sitting on the edge of the world, but then again that is often where I would like to be! No complaints here.

The Rider

A boy told me
if he roller-skated fast enough
his loneliness couldn't catch up to him,
the best reason I ever heard
for trying to be a champion.
What I wonder tonight
pedaling hard down King William Street
is if it translates to bicycles.
A victory! To leave your loneliness
panting behind you on some street corner
while you float free into a cloud of sudden azaleas,
pink petals that have never felt loneliness,
no matter how slowly they fell.
From Fuel, 1998
Can't you just smell the silence in the end of this poem?
I think it is wonderful. It equals to sipping a delicate brew of Silver Needle tea, with its hints of floral and mineral notes in the soft transparent golden liquid.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i love this poem it reminds me of my friend who rollerskates anytime she can