The Dirtbike by Tim Hewitt
Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe and some guy with a broken swingarm at Hellas 2018.
Once upon a trail ride dreary, on I rumbled, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of roadbook lore
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some thing gently snapping, snapping at my swingarm oor.
“’Tis some linkage,” I muttered, “snapping at my swingarm oor
Only this and nothing more.”
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate rutted passage wrought its force upon my tour.
Eagerly I wished the hotel; vainly I had sought to borrow
From my roadbook surcease of sorrow, sorrow for an LC4
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name LC4
Nameless here for evermore.
And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each leafy track I’m passing
Thrilled me-filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
“’Tis some rock entreating entrance at my bashplate floor
Some large rockfall entreating entrance at my bashplate floor;
This it is and nothing more.”
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “gas I’ll give it, on the throttle I’ll pull some more”;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently mud came slapping,
And so traction it came tapping, gripping as I gave it more,
That I scarce was sure I lost it” here I opened wide the throttle;
Traction there and nothing more.
Deep into my slip-on hearing, long I rode there wondering, fearing,
Revving, dreaming trails no mortal ever dared to ride before;
But with silence surely broken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “LC4?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “LC4!”
Merely this and nothing more.
Back into the right track turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something with my engine;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
’Tis the chain and nothing more!”
Open here I flung the throttle, when, with many a brapp and rattle,
In there stepped stately revving of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, revved above my redline more
Revved above the engine’s redline, revved just above my redline more
Revved, and sat, and nothing more.
Then this engine sound beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the roaring sound it bore,
“Though thy RPM be loud and crazy, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient revving screaming like an LC4
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
Quoth the Raven “LC4.”
Much I marvelled this ungainly motor to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that this living human being
Never yet was blessed with riding engine so smooth, so gutsy
An engine built upon a plastic subframe,
With such name as “LC4.”
But the engine, sitting lonely on the steel subframe, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing farther then he uttered—not a pop or crunch he fluttered
Till I scarcely more than muttered “Honda engines have blown before
On the morrow mine will leave me, as my Yamaha did blow before.”
Then the motor said “LC4.”
Startled at the clutch plates broken by steep hill climbs aptly taken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store
Caught from some unhappy owner whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his panniers one burden bore
Till the dirges of his Honda that melancholy Japanese bore
But the engine still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheelied a cushioned shock in front of motor, trail and more;
Then, upon the subframe sinking, I betook myself to thinking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what the trade-in value bore
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous Honda of yore
Meant in croaking “LC4.”
This I sat engaged in guessing, but not Autotrader app depressing
To the bike whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I stood trail-riding, with a bend at knees inclining
On the engine’s worn cylinder lining that the spark-plug gloated o’er,
But whose worn out cylinder lining with the spark plug gloating o’er,
Should I buy an LC4?
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
My radiator came to leaking, coolant tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent me
Respite-respite and nepenthe from my dreams of LC4;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and trade in for an LC4!”
Quoth the engine “LC4.”
“Dealer!” said I, “thing of evil! expensive still, if new or ex-demo!
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this dirtbike trail enchanted
On this home by Garage-door; tell me truly, I implore
Is there is there value in my Honda? Tell me, tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the dealer “LC4.”
“Dealer!” said I, “thing of evil! Give me finance, I earn plenty!
By that Heaven that bends above us by that God we both adore
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall ride a sainted engine whom the angels name LC4
Ride a rare and radiant motor which the angels name LC4.”
Quoth the dealer “LC4.”
“Be that word our sign of cash departing, bike or girlfiend!” I shrieked, upstarting
“Get thee bank balance into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no balance, my soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! I shall see my girl’s bust no more!
Take thy cash from out my bank, and make my girl and I quite poor!”
Quoth the dealer “LC4.”
And the moto, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the corner of my garage just beside my chamber door;
And his exhaust has all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my bike from out my balance that lies negative for evermore.
Shall be ridden on the trails – forevermore!