June: Biking Home After a Workout at the Club

This is a great title. The expository information gives us date, place, and reason. Now we wait for the rest of the poem to unfold. -Heather Bulliss, age 21

Over my goose neck and half a block away--
geese: eight or nine goslings and three
adults, taking their time crossing

Evans’ language is fascinating and is perhaps the strongest aspect of his poetry. Here, he writes “taking their time,” a phrase that reads as very conversational, very easy for the reader to understand, but in the next line he writes, “I was inhabiting.” “Inhabiting” just isn’t a word usually used in regular conversation, and the juxtaposition of the two types of diction create a tension not in the meaning of the words, but in their sound on the page. -Heather Bulliss

the sidewalk I was inhabiting. I know
their instinct of scooting off when they
see something coming (as crows flap away
from road-kill when a car is approaching)--
but not these geese...

This is such a simple, yet effective way of letting the reader know that something humorous and out of the ordinary is ahead. -Sarah Branz, age 20

 
within 40 feet, the big ones raised their heads
high, puffed themselves up with spread wings
and hissed; I squeezed my brakes a little,
thinking they'd hurry away, but within
20 feet they charged my wheels,

This countdown creates suspense. -Heather Bulliss

forcing me off the sidewalk onto
the grass, off the curb and into the street,

These first two stanzas are so enjoyable because of how the poet experiences the life of a goose for a few moments. The threat of oncoming traffic creates a feeling of empathy for both the poet and the geese, adding a great deal of meaning to the final line of the poem. -Rian Bosse, age 23

where a pickup driven by a guy talking
on his cell phone with a pissed-off
look and shaking his head
just missed me...

I find it interesting that the author ends every stanza with an ellipse, letting the reader truly travel with him in his journey. -Rachel McGuinness, age 20

 
I hugged the curb with a quickened heartbeat
for the next six or seven bike lengths--
hating geese and pickup trucks--
then jumped my front wheel back over
the curb and onto the sidewalk...

The dashes and ellipsis provide a very controlled rhythm, as if the narrator is thinking back on this situation and telling the story right this moment, giving him a very 3-dimensional quality. -Sarah Branz
Evans uses four dashes and three ellipses throughout the poem. They serve as transitions, allow Evans to skip over pieces of time. But they also create a sound and rhythm, perhaps that of the speaker trying to catch his breath. -Heather Bulliss

 
by the time I turned onto the trail along
the river two blocks later, I was feeling
glad, after all, that for at least a few
moments that day, part of a city sidewalk
was owned by creatures other than
the ones who built it.

  My favorite part about this poem is how Evans takes a small detail that only lasted for a few moments and draws something important from it.  The narrator observes that humans do not own everything just because they build it; the world belongs to more than just us, and creatures like geese have just as much right to it as we do. Although his first reaction is anger, he eventually sees the humor in the situations and appreciates being put in his place by this small encounter, which is a mindset that more people ought to have. It is important to learn from the small moments. -Laura Crouch, age 20
Wow. This ending is so unexpected. Prior to this moment, we are led to believe the speaker hates the geese, but here, we get to the heart of the poem, the thing the poem is really about. It’s not just about geese chasing someone off the sidewalk. It’s about geese chasing someone off the sidewalk because they should. -Heather Bulliss
Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.