Sonnet: Do or die

I love the bike: the ride, the road, the air
Have been my life so long I can’t recall
A time I didn’t do this thing. What bare
And sterile days those must have been; so small
In scope, so tame and desk-soft: indoors skin
That never felt the rain’s lash, glowed like flame
From eight hours out in August. Can’t begin
To picture him, that stranger with my name.
So what should I do now, when every day
Brings ten fresh invitations to that dance
We all must do; how long until I lay
The losing card in this rigged game of chance?
I’ve reached a crossroads; asking whether I
Still need it all enough to want to die.

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6 thoughts on “Sonnet: Do or die

    • Thinking about quitting the bike, actually. After 20 years, I’m finally getting properly fed up with all the near-death experiences. It’s starting to feel too darned dangerous out there. Shame. N.xx

  1. Ah now Im with you. Ive read the poem again and totally understand it now. I dont think I took time enough over it the first time I read it..

    Oh that is a shame Nick but if it’s becoming dangerous then it cant be enjoyable. You enjoy walking dont you? Maybe this could be the way to go. x

    • I do love walking, it’s true – and the dog makes sure I get plenty of it! Trouble is, walking doesn’t produce the endorphins that the bike does, and my mixed-up brain chemistry seems to need that big hit to keep my wayward serotonin levels under control (been down the medication route before and it doesn’t work for me at all) When I first started riding seriously about 10 years ago, I used to have a near-miss with a vehicle every month or so – riding most days means I’ve always been up against the law of averages – but now it’s happening virtually every time I go out, and over recent weeks, I’ve started to feel genuinely vulnerable out there. I hate the thought of not riding on the road any more, but I’m really starting to wonder if it’s worth the risk. I’ll carry on for now, but it’s getting tough. N.xx

  2. I feel for you Nick. If we can do things naturally its much better for us. Medications sometimes just make us feel worse. I think this is why my daughter runs and goes to the gym what I call obsessively and to excess. Her OCD is much calmer if she does all this. She has also been down the medication route for this to no avail.
    I hope you get some peace of mind eventually with all this x

  3. Giving up bike riding, Nick? I can’t imagine. Your double sestina was so magnificent it’s obvious that out of bike riding and the freedom you feel on the bike is glory in your life. Still, near death experiences are not what you want to live your life dreading. Bike riding is better in parts of the U.S., I guess. There are trails that go for hundreds of miles into farm country and occasionally wilderness: No cars to drive you off the road. I’m not sure how many miles the Ahnapee Trail that goes through Sturgeon Bay goes, but it has to be well over a hundred miles south toward Milwaukee. When we lived in Carlton, Minnesota the Munger Trail stretched from Duluth to Minneapolis. In New Mexico the bike trails were cross country and rough, but the Zuni Mountains have outstanding, challenging trails. The Munger is partially paved. The Ahnapee is an old railroad bed and has a firm base. It’s not road riding, but close.
    Your sonnets are always perfect, of course. This one qualifies for that statement. This continues the two selves theme in your earlier poem. A great effort, though I wish, I wish you could have a safe place to ride and ride.

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