Erato, why torment me so?
I came to worship in your woods,
Those haunts where your familiars go,
An an aspiring rhymester should.

And since a forty-minute hike
Can hardly get me deep within
Those woods, I thought a mountain bike
Would take me farther from the din

Of human voices, buildings, cars
And all distractions of the world,
Where you in thanks would then bestow
On me some small poetic pearl—

It’s worked for poets ages through,
For Robert Frost, most notably—
But what more will I have to do
To get the woods to sing for me

When, after panting, uphill sweat,
And quadriceptal muscle strains,
I stop to catch a breath, and get
Stung by mosquitoes for my pains?

And not a word from you, you witch—
Instead, a sky of grayish black,
My limbs a comprehensive itch,
And rain-soaked head the whole way back.

Roberta Harold MA ‘01 is the author of historical mysteries Heron Island and Murdered Sleep. She is now working on a novel about a Civil War widow in Belle Epoque Paris.