Do I remember him? How could I fail
To think of that tender boy, handsome and hail,
Zealous and hearty, his muscles in tone,
Who once climbed these ancient hills, cycling alone?

He’d travelled to England, borne here by a dream;
It sprang up in childhood, and now, in full stream,
Its currents had brought him across the wide seas
To cycle through downland and woodland and leas.

He´d come in his prime, in the strength of his youth,
With a heart for adventure, for love, and for truth;
And though memories fade of those days long ago
I see him now, riding past, where the winds blow.

Free as a lark as it wheels in the sky,
Swiftly he flies with a spark in his eye.
The wind at his back and his heart filled with song,
All the day through he goes riding along,

Upward ascending the hill to its height,
Then downward descending with no end in sight,
He speeds past small cottages, hedges and lanes,
Free of all worries and burdens and pains.

Relieved of all cares and each heart-crushing load,
Careening around every bend in the road,
He pedals on, pumping with passion to spare,
As fleet as the wind and as light as the air.

At one with the world all around him, he feels,
A part of the landscape each hilltop reveals,
Absorbed by the wonders that fill every sense:
The sun flooded hills and the woods, dark and dense,

The blue sky above and the wandering stream,
The white clouds diffusing each heaven-sent beam,
The long twisting road that dissolves in the haze,
The tall standing grain, and the fields where cows graze.

I think of that lad and of that distant day
Which seems still so near me, though so far away.
How could I forget that sweet summer long past,
So fleeting, yet full of rich feelings that last?

When I was a part of all things I surveyed,
As green as the grass, and as fresh as the glade,
As bright as the sun which o´er all the earth reigns,
As warm as its beams, with its fire in my veins,

As young as the lambs that fed on every hill,
As strong as the mountains, majestic and still,
As lofty in aims as their beckoning height
Forever before me and filling my sight,

And driven by dreams as alluring and new
As each fresh horizon that came into view—
Those wonderful vistas that served as a goad
To draw me beyond the next bend in the road.

So do I remember him? Who can forget
That young pilgrim riding through dry days and wet?
He rides in my memory, and always will
Through mist-covered meadow and rolling green hill.

 

 

Martin Rizley grew up in Oklahoma and in Texas, and has served in pastoral ministry both in the United States and in Europe. He is currently serving as the pastor of a small evangelical church in the city of Málaga on the southern coast of Spain, where he lives with his wife and daughter. Martin has enjoyed writing and reading poetry as a hobby since his early youth.


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7 Responses

  1. David Paul Behrens

    This poem has a rhythmic flow, and the picturesque descriptions compel me to wish I could ride a bicycle through the countryside of England. Altogether outstanding, and enjoyable to read.

    Reply
  2. Martin Rizley

    Thank you for your encouraging feedback. I hope you you will be cycle in the English countryside someday; it´s such a beautiful country. And I would like to go back there again someday myself!

    Reply
  3. C.B. Anderson

    Martin, as D.P.D noted, this poem has a rhythmic flow, mostly due to the preponderance of anapests, but there are iambs (and other strange feet) thrown in here and there, which, oddly, neither distract nor detract from the overarching flow of the poem. So I would have to give it, if you consented to be graded, an A-.

    Reply
    • Martin Rizley

      Thanks for your comment– and for the grade! I’ll be glad to take an A-. Perhaps the “rhythmic flow” you mention is due in part to the fact that I was moved to write this poem while listening to a rhythmic and flowing piece of music that brought these memories to mind and that was running through my mind as I wrote. The piece was Edmund Rubbra´s Violin Sonata No. 1, a beautiful piece of music which in the first movement sounds to me just like someone riding freely through the English countryside.

      Reply
  4. David Watt

    Martin, your pastoral descriptions make me feel like heading to some quiet country roads.

    Reply
  5. Satyananda Sarangi

    Greetings, Mr. Rizley.

    The exquisite rhythm of this poem has made me read it thrice in a day.
    While reading it for the first time, it gave me the feeling of “The Solitary Reaper” by William Wordsworth.

    Reply
    • Martin Rizley

      Thank you very much for your feedback! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the poem.

      Reply

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