Cycle of Life

by Joe Dobrow ©1992


Fun occasions aside, I have not usually put finger to keyboard to write poetry. But during a burst of bicycle riding and soul searching in 1992, this one spilled out of my head one morning.

On a fine, cool morning when the wind is at your back
Movement comes free and smooth
And it is easy to forget the mechanical struggle, the conscious locomotion
As you peddle your way along past trees and driveways
And the freeze-frame world you leave behind.

There are straightaways, flat stretches of seemingly endless horizon,
Which you welcome and set out on
And have no idea how long they will last
And why even ask?
Just keep churning forward and think of no other way.

But you must turn, inevitably, for purpose or adventure
And steer in new directions, and turn again, and return;
This much you know at the start.
Though you may not know the way, there are many paths to take,
Some of which (it turns out) lead to the same place, and some of which do not.

Heading downhill you accelerate fast,
An exhilarating rush of speed and force
Of which you are only just in control.
This is easy, though there is much resistance from the onrushing world,
And tears sometimes form in your eyes.

But the pedalless glide down
Is always met by a new hill to conquer,
An imposing hurdle that will require work and sweat,
A noisy change of gears that makes you think about turning back
And leaves you sorry for your impetuous waste of gravity.

There are others along these paths,
Whizzing by with an occasional wave or nod,
Overtaking you or being overtaken;
But this is ultimately a solitary run, one person’s race
That takes you only as far, only as fast, as the effort you put into it.

It is work, it is relaxation,
It is invigorating, it is a chore,
It is up and down so many times together,
It is repetitive, it is different every day.

It is Life.


(September 17, 1992)