'The Cyclist' Poetry Commentary

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“The Cyclist” poetry commentary

“The Cyclist” is a poem by Louis MacNeice which romanticizes the fleeting joys of childhood. These joys are emphasised through imagery of summer – be it activities, food, the beach, a bicycle ride, various techniques such as juxtaposition and enjambment are used to evoke fond memories from the reader.
MacNeice’s poem is set in the southwest of England, on a hill with a chalk horse carved into it. It is during the height of summer, when the grasshoppers are buzzing and the children are playing outside. The character is a boy or a group of boys, and they are riding bicycles down a hill near to the chalk horse. The structure of the poem is quite disjointed, with only five sentences throughout three stanzas.
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The wonderfully poetic language assists in the seamless transition from meadow to ocean: the rolling grass hills are likened the boiling waves (heated by the sun), and the pebbles are compared with crabs, scuttering away to escape the bike’s wheel. The “boys riding their heat-wave” creates a picture of a surfer, “feet on a narrow plank and hair thrown back”. The narrow plank creates
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