An amateur poet who's taken the time
To polish his structure, his meter and rhyme,
Composing pert poesy he hopes might amuse
Those persons he hopes will take time to peruse
His carefully planned, yet creative word art,
Won't let expectations run wild, if he's smart.

He may have great instinct and talent as well,
Persistence and patience, and even can spell...
His iambs and anapests may be precise;
He may have included a cute plot device.

Though colorful phrasing and fresh flippant quips
Enliven his light-hearted, lyrical scripts,
And topics he chooses are timely to boot,
He still may discover his efforts were moot.

Most folks, after reading his humorous verse,
If asked their opinions might say "I've seen worse"
Or maybe just shrug and evade a response,
Since poetry often evokes nonchalance.

It may be a guy thing, since men often shirk
Artistic endeavor as some kind of quirk,
Perhaps even somehow effeminate... still,
Real men do write poems – if they have the skill.

There have been exceptions, I'm happy to say,
To typical cool, apathetic display
Of feedback for my quicky frivolous rhymes;
This poem's responding to one of those times.
I heard some encouraging words, so to speak,
From folks who ride 'bents that I emailed last week.

Okay, well... [self-consciously clearing his throat and glancing shiftily from side to side] I guess I have to confess at the outset here that like a number of the other poems in this section of our website, this one does have a hint of autobiographical relevance. This poem is a bit unique in that it's also one of the (very) few posted here of which it could be truthfully said – at least within the definitively undemanding standards of a story teller steeped in Southern tradition – that it is published here by special request of a small but astutely critical, erudite and unbiased readership.

In mid-Spring of this year, a few weeks after a young man's fancy had turned to whatever it was to which it used to turn, but which other old guys and I have long since forgotten, we decided it would be a great time for our local recumbent cycling group to indulge in a Spring picnic on the beach.

The weekend before the big event, when it was time for me to email ride notices, The Weather Channel's forecast display was a steady string of little yellow suns, with only a hint of overcast below and to the left, indicating our typical local late Spring pattern of very consistent cool days with a little morning cloud cover, followed by full sunshine without oppressive heat in the afternoon. I was feeling the full sentiment of those best-known lines from Robert Browning's prodigious (even by my definitively undemanding standards) poem Pippa Passes: "God's in his Heaven – All's right with the world!" I've also always liked the phrase that starts that section of Robert's rambling rant, and felt inspired to expand it into this bit of verse to begin my email message:

"The Year's at the Spring", Mr. Browning once wrote,
Which seemed like a nice thought for starting this note.
Let's go for a cruise in the Spring morning mist
And afternoon sunshine – this time with a twist:
A picnic with 'bent riding buddies and friends,
And maybe some new ones... Whoever attends
Will have a nice ride on a lovely Spring day,
And lunch on the beach as we welcome in May.

However, along about Wednesday, we discovered an abrupt change in the (presumably) professionals' precipitation prognostication for our picnic plans. Suddenly, they were promising rain on Friday, lasting until around noon on Saturday, with Sunday being the most likely date for an outdoor event to avoid becoming water sport. On Friday, faced with definitively indefinite assurances of fair weather the following morning, I attempted to amend my overenthusiastic original ride notice by producing this poetic post of possible picnic postponement:

Political candidates often misspeak
With promises made as an office they seek.
Although I'm more modest, withdrawn, humble, meek,
I may have been – well... – 'optimistic' this week.

Our chances for Saturday sun now seem bleak;
Still, that needn't mean that our ride's up the creek.
On rising tomorrow, just take a quick peek
Outside; if the sky seems too likely to leak,
Though you're disappointed, perhaps in a pique,
Please don't pitch a hissy; don't moan, curse or shriek.

We're gonna survive with this simple technique:
We'll slide back to Sunday; this untimely streak
Of inclement weather is fairly unique.
Ventura won't lose its fair weather mystique,
And you'll feel the warmth of the sun on your cheek
Before the tan fades from your slim, bronzed physique.

In retrospect, now, I find myself wondering if the folks who graciously complimented me on these verses and asked for them to be recorded a tad more semi-permanently may in fact have been somewhat less impressed with the artistic excellence of my poetry than with my (not necessarily factually accurate, even by definitively undemanding standards) reference to those slim, bronzed physiques.

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Last updated 15.5.2009