Adventure, Joy, Motorcycles, Poetry, Writing



Sometime in spring 2021, my FB friend and photographer Paul Latour shared this beautiful and arresting image on our Mississippi Mills community FB page. He told me he took it in early morning on the Appleton side road.

It spoke to me of life, freedom, light and joyfully riding into the unknown with faith and confidence. I knew immediately that I wanted to write a poem to pair with the image. I asked his permission to use the pic. He said yes. But the words didn’t come. I tried several times; it was hard work. Poems that are hard work don’t want to be written.

Then, six months later, in late November, a line popped into my mind: ‘heaven is the longest road.’ The poem wrote itself in a few days. The first line changed from longest to promised. Poems evolve as they write themselves. This is not at all the piece I thought it would be, but it’s what bubbled to the surface. It definitely wanted to be written. And so it is.

(Note: For those outside of the Canadian motorcycle community, a ‘rip’ is a ride — either on your own or with fellow riders on your motorcycle(s). For more on what may be the Canadian origins of the term, see the f—ing video at the end of the post :P)


by susan © 2021


heaven is the promised road
where skies of blue are flecked with gold

it leads to where you want to go
endless summers: no rain or snow

when suddenly it twists and turns
on curves and bends, your bike holds firm

leans at speed, and never wide
there’s no such thing as drops or slides

no gravel, grass or slippery leaves
you’re in the land of make believe

no cagers in the way to chide
no officers from whom to hide

no more helmets, no armoured gear
no danger now, there’s naught to fear

no need for gas or oil or grease
the whole thing runs on sweet release

your ride is music to your ears
delivers sounds you love to hear

it growls, it howls, or like a choir sings
makes you feel like you’ve got wings

fly down highways that never end
ride solo, staggered or with a friend

race on tracks, practice tricks
it’s up to you, take your pick

you could wheelie on forever
or choose not to, now or ever

if it’s dirt and mud you like,
the roads are gone, plain out of sight

everywhere are hills and dales
full of roller coaster-ed trails

whichever, whatever, it’s all good
like mr. roger’s neighbourhood

what you wish is what you get
once you’ve paid that final debt

heaven’s just a rip, that’s all
when riders answer freedom’s call


© 2021 Susan Macaulay. I invite you to share my poetry and posts widely, but please do not reprint, reblog or copy and paste them in their entirety without my permission. Thank you.



the bell on my bike

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