Ode on a Grecian Urn
John Keats, 1819
“What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?”…
Ode on a Greasy Turn
Chris Dolan, 2019
Keats had no use for the velocipede
Which, he snarled, was the “nothing of the day”
The Romantic preferred a nobler steed
Nor would these awkward stanzas earn his praise
Let us then lower our literary standards.
Rain drips onto gray rock, slick, cool, and bright
Did nature’s glacier so fashion this turn
That eons hence wild, wheeled, woodland sprites
Would worship here in joyful exertion?
What ancients, with iron-rimmed, wooden wheels
Plodding over cobbles could have foreseen
The modern, carbon-framed speedster zooming
Through dark, dense woods with soft pneumatic ease
Our rider approaches the berm-temple
Overwrought with its morass of wet moss
Preparing to perform the sacred rite
Resin on metal: The sound of hubris
Icarus considers his altitude
Was it Fortuna or bold artistry?
The tires hold like raptor’s talons on prey
The rider flung with centrifugal glee
Toward the trailhead, to ride another day
Free of abrasion, dignity unharm’d
To the Dionysian delight of friends
Our sylvan historian spins a yarn
Of what fierce disaster might have been
From amongst the mud-spattered friend-circle
Comes a sudden, shouted query:
“Say, fellas, what the f**k is a timbrel?”
Meet 5:45 Tuesday 8/27 at the West Windsor Town Forest parking lot at the end of Coaching Lane in Brownsville. We'll set rides and groups, and head out at 6:00.