The Big One

Tomorrow sees the start of the Tour de France – the biggest, richest, craziest and most glamorous bike race on Earth. Plenty of British interest this time round: Bradley Wiggins is in with a shout of a high finish, while Mark Cavendish looks almost certain to add to his 2009 tally of six stage wins.
Cycling aside, it’s also a big day for me from a writing perspective. In 2007, I set myself the challenge of writing a poem a day for the duration of the three-week race. The doping scandals that engulfed the event (yet again) that year gave the collection an unexpected narrative arc – and also estranged me from the race for the next two editions.
But I love the Tour, for all its many faults, so I’m giving it yet another second chance (that’s about five now) and repeating my poetry experiment of three years ago. There’s no knowing what’s going to happen between the start in Rotterdam tomorrow and the finish in Paris on 25 July. All I can tell you is, it’s going to be a wild ride. And I can’t wait. In fact, I haven’t.


So you’re back.
It’s been a while
Since we were intimate.
Once, you distracted and possessed me,
Your moves and moods
Filling my talk and study.
I crossed countries to be with you,
But you repaid my devotion
With scorn and treachery
And so I turned from your cruel beauty
Took back my summers
And a different road.
Yet I never quite let you go:
I listened for your name
Glanced at you in unguarded moments,
Always knew your company
And whereabouts.
You were too much to me
To be nothing to me
And so, against all reason,
I’ll let myself be drawn
Back inside your loopy world
Where all is madness
Torment and pretence,
Still meaningless;
Still making perfect sense.


One thought on “The Big One

  1. Ah…the Tour de France…such love I have for it that when we visited France…we brought our bikes and rode a small section of the route just to feel closer to the cycle god….so this is going to be a real treat for me to follow your fine writings this year…and from what I’ve read before of yours…I shall not be disappointed.

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