Monologue for a Man (adult, any age)
(free for students & auditions)

The Blooming 'Cycles

By G. L. Horton
copyright © 2004 Geralyn Horton

So here it is Easter. Yesterday was all that terrible weather. Gale winds and driving sleet. But I got up this morning and looked out the window and ta da! it's spring. Sunshine and daffodils, cherry trees unwrapping their frilly blossoms. Scarcely a cloud in the sky. Birds singing the hallelujah chorus. I feel great. I can feel myself smiling. So I put on my jacket and I hop on my motorcycle and I ride out into the country side to enjoy the first day of spring light and air. No sooner do I stop and turn off my machine to watch the birds begin to gather and chirp and twitter in the now silence when suddenly the birds swoop off again, scared away by a great chuffing commotion: a line of antique motor bikes wheeling their way up the hill. What a sight! Ancient Harleys and vintage fluorescents and streamlines, from all over the world, gleaming in the unaccustomed sun as they tool along! I wave. I grin. I salute. A contingent of comrades pulls over to chat, ranging in age from one that looks to me like a teen ager to one that looks like Methuselah. I'm flattered that they stop for me. and I'm eager to shop the proper degree of enthusiasm and ask all the flattering questions.

Where did you get that ancient beauty?
"Was my grandpa's"
"Swapped it for a Yamaha"

What year was this baby built?

What do you have to do to keep yours purring and on the road?
"My family's in the business. Whatever I need, I can get it or make it."
"A little fuel, a little polish-- they made machines to last, back then."
"What don't I do? This baby's a full time job."
How long have you had it? Did you start young and keep it?

One rider tells me there's a contest for the oldest combined cycle and rider-- and the winner added up to 184 years!

The bikers tell me they ride like this every Easter: same time, same place. I resolve to mark my calendar, not to miss it next year. Then my new friends are off to catch up to the pack, roaring down the hill in a cloud of petrol fumes and gray flying ponytails.

I take off in another direction, down the fork that leads to the river, and the cherry orchard that by now should be coming into bloom. I missed it last year: what was I so busy doing that I forgot about the orchard? When I was twenty I read the poem A.E. Housman wrote when HE was twenty, and I took what he said to heart. Not just about cherry blossoms-- even at twenty I knew a saw from a metaphor.

The poem is short and simple. Easy to memorize: "Loveliest of trees", ---

Wait a sec! I just thought: about the "ride".

You know, I don't think there were motorcycles when Housman was twenty. In 1880, or thereabout. He probably never rode one. Housman's "woodland ride" was for horses. But still.... I think it applies.

"Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow."


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