Song of the Open Road
A little Walt Whitman, for inspiration. It's really about walking, I think, but I've always found it to work just as well as a cycling ode. I just saw it excerpted in the book below and thought some of you guys might be interested in printing it out -- as if the Tour weren't inspiring enough.
From SONG OF THE OPEN ROAD
I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune---I myself am good fortune;
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Strong and content, I travel the open road.
The earth---that is sufficient;
I do not want the constellations any nearer;
I know they are very well where they are;
I know they suffice for those who belong to them..
* * *
O highway I travel! O public road! do you say to me, Do not leave me?
Do you say, Venture not? If you leave me, you are lost?
Do you say, I am already prepared---I am well-beaten and undenied---adhere to me?
O public road! I say back, I am not afraid to leave you---yet I love you;
You express me better than I can express myself;
You shall be more to me than my poem.
I think heroic deeds were all conceiv’d in the open air, and all great poems also;
I think I could stop here myself, and do miracles;
(My judgments, thoughts, I henceforth try by the open air, the road
I think whatever I shall meet on the road I shall like, and whoever beholds me shall like me;
I think whoever I see must be happy.
* * *
From this hour, freedom!
From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines,
Going where I list, my own master, total and absolute,
Listening to others, and considering well what they say,
Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,
Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.
I inhale great draughts of space;
The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine.
I am larger, better than I thought;
I did not know I held so much goodness.
All seems beautiful to me.
* * *
Allons! whoever you are, come travel with me!
Traveling with me, you find what never tires.
The earth never tires;
The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first---Nature is rude and incomprehensible at first;
Be not discouraged---keep on---there are divine things, well envelop’d;
I sweat to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell. . .
Allons! with power, liberty, the earth, the elements!
Health, defiance, gayety, self-esteem, curiosity;
Allons! from all formules!
* * *
Allons! yet take warning!
He traveling with me needs the best blood, thews, endurance;
None may come to the trial, till he or she bring courage and health.
Come not here if you have already spent the best of yourself;
Only those may come, who come in sweet and determin’d bodies.
* * *
Allons! whoever you are! come forth!
Allons! the road is before us!
Mon enfant! I give you my hand!
Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me?