Poem of the Week: “The Rider”

This poem was chosen by Acting Director of the Center for Poetry, Laurie Hollinger. She was reminded of the new bike lane outside of Snyder Hall at MSU. This poem is also a brief study on loneliness. Loneliness is an isolating feeling, while simultaneously being a feeling shared by many.

The Rider

By Naomi Shihab Nye

A boy told me

if he roller-skated fast enough

his loneliness couldn’t catch up to him,

the best reason I ever heard

for trying to be a champion.

What I wonder tonight

pedaling hard down King William Street

is if it translates to bicycles.

A victory! To leave your loneliness

panting behind you on some street corner

while you float free into a cloud of sudden azaleas,

pink petals that have never felt loneliness,

no matter how slowly they fell.

Naomi Shihab Nye, “The Rider” from Fuel. Copyright © 1998 by Naomi Shihab Nye.

Published by cpoetrymsu

The Center for Poetry opened in the fall of 2007 to encourage the reading, writing, and discussion of poetry and to create an awareness of the place and power of poetry in our everyday lives. We think about this in a number of ways, including through readings, shows, community outreach, and workshops. We are at work building a poetry community at MSU and in the greater Lansing area. Contact: cpoetry@msu.edu (517) 884-1932 http://www.poetry.rcah.msu.edu

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