May 24/20: Eight Riders; 89.7 kms; 2 hour 44; 435 metres

Hello – How was your Sunday morning? What did you do? Were you alone or with others?  Were you active? Did you gasp for breath in the doing? Was your effort rewarded? How so? Did you just kill time? If killing time, was your effort rewarded? Did you reflect on anything? What will come of that? Am I asking you or myself?

Life slips away, like dripping water from a kitchen tap, inconsequential but not to be summoned back. Lost, like Cinderella’s slipper but with no happy ending.

Important Stuff – Tentative Plan: Check Back on Friday

Stay fit, firm, fine – always.

– Twitter a@arnpriorcycling
– IG @arnpriorcycling
– WP

“I knew I would not always be a child/
with a model train and a model tunnel,
/and I knew I would not live forever,/
jumping all day through the hoop of myself.” bc

Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes

First, her tippet made of tulle,
easily lifted off her shoulders and laid
on the back of a wooden chair.

And her bonnet,
the bow undone with a light forward pull.

Then the long white dress, a more
complicated matter with mother-of-pearl
buttons down the back,
so tiny and numerous that it takes forever
before my hands can part the fabric,
like a swimmer’s dividing water,
and slip inside.

You will want to know
that she was standing
by an open window in an upstairs bedroom,
motionless, a little wide-eyed,
looking out at the orchard below,
the white dress puddled at her feet
on the wide-board, hardwood floor.

The complexity of women’s undergarments
in nineteenth-century America
is not to be waved off,
and I proceeded like a polar explorer
through clips, clasps, and moorings,
catches, straps, and whalebone stays,
sailing toward the iceberg of her nakedness.

Later, I wrote in a notebook
it was like riding a swan into the night,
but, of course, I cannot tell you everything –
the way she closed her eyes to the orchard,
how her hair tumbled free of its pins,
how there were sudden dashes
whenever we spoke.

What I can tell you is
it was terribly quiet in Amherst
that Sabbath afternoon,
nothing but a carriage passing the house,
a fly buzzing in a windowpane.

So I could plainly hear her inhale
when I undid the very top
hook-and-eye fastener of her corset

and I could hear her sigh when finally it was unloosed,
the way some readers sigh when they realize
that Hope has feathers,
that reason is a plank,
that life is a loaded gun
that looks right at you with a yellow eye. Billy Collins

“I will drink/Life to the lees …
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d” (lat)

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