Like the Colossus of Rhodes
The poet’s highway sojourn, as he tests his stride against ‘darkness lurking in the guise of noon’, leaves him feeling like he is chained to the historical remains of the Colossus of Rhodes, the statute of the Greek sun God Helios.
As I cross the highway my stride
shortens and my thighs go numb.
As if I’ve attempted to climb
an impossible alpine slope.
I drop to all fours and clamber
to the shoulder as a big truck
hoots past, diesel roar deafening.
What happened? The big night-wind
may have disordered me. Walking
along the roadside feels normal.
But when I recross, that same
cold weakness stops me midway
and only tremendous exertion
works me over the crown of the road.
I feel knee-deep in a dream
but recover enough to walk home,
dragging glittery sheaves of tinsel.
A cup of tea calms me. No more
crossing that dangerous highway.
No more trusting my unkempt body
to vault me over danger.
The morning braces itself
against the sky for leverage
and extracts a terrible windstorm.
Pines crackle and huge boughs fall,
ripping down the power lines.
The highway might be blocked but
I’m not going out again
to test my stride against darkness
lurking in the guise of noon— [stanza break]
my legs, like the Colossus
of Rhodes, stuck in historical mud.