September 30, 2010

Freedom (BTP prompt)

After a two week hiatus from writing (everyone deserves a vacation now and then!) I am back with the wonderful prompt from Big Tent Poetry on childhood memories that really got my juices flowing.  I decided to write on a wonderful experience, the spring I was 10.  My father bought me a “mini-bike”, the smallest motorcycle there was.  I spent every free minute on it in glorious, wild freedom with my "gang"  and away from an oppressively difficult home situation.  

Each day became a fresh parole
of baking heat and brilliant sun,
escaping dark, oppressive rooms,
away from grasping, clawing arms.

Careening through the dusty streets,
my two speeds being fast and stop,
in rubber thongs and outgrown shorts,
not knowing what a helmet was.

Feeling like some fresh Columbus,
each exploration newly born,
outrunning my captivity,
until the evening's dimming light.

Returning burnt and gravel-rashed,
with long black hair a tangled mop,
so hungry for some nourishment,
but food and need was all I got.

That freedom was a soaring cloud,
through painful, childhood summer days,
in every year that’s hurried past,
I’ve never, ever, felt the same.

(My poor, confused mother, in an attempt to keep me as her “captive entertainment”, sold the bike the winter I was 11.)
Maybe I should buy a Vespa...?


  1. (I couldn't wait. I should be asleep. My plane leave in 6 hours!)

    Yes. Go get yourself a Vespa.

    And I like the energy here. The wildness, the captivity. So much said, so briefly.

  2. You expressed the wonderful feelings of childhood freedom SO well! Actually I felt pretty much the same on my bicycle (though I know it is not the same) and was always 'on the road.' I feel your both the experience AND the writing of the poem.

  3. There you are, Cynthia! "Feeling like some new Columbus", wow! Your sense of freedom comes shining through.

  4. My favorite line:

    "Feeling like some new Columbus,
    each perception so freshly born"

    Keep up that feeling! I will try, too!

  5. Cynthia, a wonderful sense of freedom captured here!
    btw nice to see you back!

  6. A summer of freedom. Wonderful poem and yes, you should get a Vespa, but you'd probably be required to wear a helmet...:)

  7. What freedom! Get a Vespa! I am thinking of it.

    Here is my Haibun in 55 words!

  8. What a depiction of childhood freedom. Do get the Vespa.

  9. A Vespa sounds wonderful. Your poem captures "the soaring cloud" Cynthia.

  10. (((Cynthia)))

    I focussed more on the need you had for that motor bike. My mother would have taken it away too, and much sooner than yours did. My mother would have said it was too dangerous for me at that or perhaps any age. May I offer a wish that your days are unburdened and stay that way except for those burdens of love you willingly accept.

  11. You are too long in the tooth to join the Hells Angels, although I can envision you in tight black leather on a bike:)Do you know that song... Lou Reed's
    'Take a Walk On the Wildside'? It is going through my head as I read your poem.

  12. I remember that feeling from cycling - you captured the freedom of it awesomely.

  13. A powerful draft of recollection, clear and vivid.

    I know that BTP isn't a workshop, but might I venture a tentative suggestion? The rhythm that locks the first two stanzas helps to drive the piece along so that it reads out loud to great effect. But then it breaks within the third and fourth and then resumes in the final stanza. A small adjustment of the arhythmic lines would regularise the pulse of the poem and balance it as a compelling oral piece.

  14. What a wonderful expression of freedom.

  15. How awful, and sad, your mother making her effort to keep you captive for her entertainment. Maybe you should buy that Vespa.

  16. Welcome to our potluck week 10, a poetry award is assigned upon submission.
    Old poems are welcome …hurry up, you have 11 hours to go before we are closed.
    Hope to see you there. Cheers!


    Welcome attending poets rally week 33, link in a poem, visit 18 poets, done,
    Poetry awards assigned upon completion.
    Happy Friday!
    Thanks in advance for the attention!