A double tragedy

Strapped and gleaming,
Black-plumed: a perfect turn-out
For the last, long ride.

Side-by-side in the traces
You stepped out; steady, stately,
Unburdened by your load.

Talk and traffic ceased their flow
As you passed – solid, vital,
Death itself meek and mute behind you.

Until

Something deep within you
Stopped, snapped. All was stilled
And the road rushed up to meet you.

Panic:

Silence exploding in siren shrieks,
Lowered eyes now wide and staring,
Bowed heads now craning forward,

Then turning away.
And after the shock, the guilty asking
Who to grieve for now.

 

I have far too much work on, really, but I couldn’t not write in response to this. My wife saw the incident; I must confess I’m glad I wasn’t there. Some (better) writers might have found a dark comedy in it, but I’m afraid I couldn’t. N.

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The road taken

If I’d only gone straight on after Tanyard Green
I’d have made it home much sooner
But I never would have seen

That John Deere and silage trailer running flat-out on the road
To the hungry forage harvester for one more load.

If I’d turned to the left when I chose to go right
I’d have dodged that one-in-seven
But I would have missed the sight

Of a big New Holland crawling with the throttle thrown wide
As it hauled a power harrow up a steep hillside.

If I’d thought to take the shortcut, not the long way round,
I’d have saved myself some miles
But instead I caught the sound

Of three magpies’ loud alarums in an oak, while down below
The dog-fox paused, then vanished in the deep hedgerow.

Yes, it’s easy to regret the many roads I never took –
All those straighter, smoother highways –
But I must not overlook

All the unexpected magic that’s waylaid me on this track;
I’ll forsake the map and compass, ride my road – and not look back.