the empty tire swing

the empty tire swing spins slowly under the faithful arm
of an old oak tree,
guided lightly by the breeze.
but it was not always this way.
for the swing was once propelled by a little boy,
digging in with sneaker toes and pushing backwards,
leaning back and swaying forwards,
curling feet underneath and riding back again,
over and over,
higher and higher.

the riderless bicycle rests against an outside wall
of an aluminum-sided house,
chrome fenders glisten in the sun for nobody to see.
but it was not always this way.
for the bicycle was once propelled by a little boy,
pedaling hard with ball glove hanging off
handlebar and baseball card making
motor sounds from wheel spokes,
riding fast, streetlamps coming on,
and in-by-dark the house rule.

the man stands alone at the window
of an aluminum-sided house,
looking out at empty yard, he remains still.
but it was not always this way.
for the man was once propelled by a little boy,
a little boy who swung high,
and pedaled fast,
and once thought of his father as his hero.
but little boys grow up and move on,
and fathers sometimes stand alone, looking out at empty yards.


Moving. The imaginary is very powerful here - particularly the tyre. I knew before I opened the thread what sort of thing would be coming, and I wasn’t disappointed.

thanks CS. Much appreciated.

The more I read this the more I like and the less I have to comment on.

My only real bother is the passive voice in line five of each stanza. I understand the stylistic choice behind it, but it still bothers me.

I’m also a little upset by the lack of articles–a, the, even a his would be appreciated. But, again, I can understand and maybe even see it justified as a stylistic choice.

But, God, this is beautiful. The analogies are great. Everything about this poem works for me, and the last line brings out an interesting juxtaposition between the boy’s dynamism and the father’s stasis.

This is really, really good, though. Splendid, even.


Thank you so much for your comments, and thanks especially for giving the poem more than one read. I think that a good poem (and despite your kind words, I am not at all sure this is one of those) requires more than one reading, maybe even several, at least if it’s a poem with any kind of depth. The problem for the writer obviously is that that is a hard thing to ask of a reader, to ask for that kind of attention and patience. And therein lies the rub for poetry, as it requires both I think, if it is to be properly experienced.

Your comments are very much appreciated.