life cycle

How can it be that

after so many years
all those miles
half a lifetime willingly paid over

I can still forget that

after so many hours
all those words
hollowed out by all the hiding

I can repair all that

after just a moment
stolen from reality
with this magical machine.

And I am thankful that

after each forgetting
it is there to remind me
and pick me up again.

Missed a couple of days on the bike this week owing to poor weather and work commitments. Felt awful, darkness closing in etc. Went for a ride yesterday and things got themselves back into some kind of balance. Can’t understand why that surprised me; or why I so easily forget that, very often, that’s all it takes. Yes, I’m obsessed, and should probably be worried that my mental state is so bound up in whether or not I’ve managed to get out today. But I am absolutely certain that the bike has saved me from seeking solace in things that would be a lot worse for me; and I am so grateful to it for finding me all those years ago. (The pic is my much-loved Brompton outside the church in La Chapelle-au-Mans, Burgundy, on a very hot day back in June.)

in mundo inter mundos

A drowsing acre of rough-cut grass
walled off from the waking world.
Beneath pale stones, splashed with flowers
the founding generations mingle,
one with their home ground,
as their crisply chiselled names
bookended with joy and mourning
slowly soften with the seasons.

Spinning down to this quiet corner
from the village on the hill –
the home I left long years ago –
I find myself among old friends
see more familiar faces here than there;
my past interred in ordered rows.
And so I turn back to the road;
my world between two worlds.

Out of here

Maybe I’m dreaming
and all this scheming, screaming
madness in the land
dwells only in my spinning mind
and one day I’ll awake to find
it’s washed away like footprints in the sand.

So cruel and uncaring;
I’m despairing as they’re tearing
everything apart.
They take and take and never give:
tell me how I am meant to live
like this, bereft in soul and sick at heart.

I’m done with all the hating
baiting, dissimulating
hopelessness and pain.
So now I’m getting out of here:
switch off, drop out and disappear
to seek my peace out on the road again.

Time for change

A day to set the tarmac popping underneath my tyres;
A day sent straight from Lucifer and his infernal fires.
The smell of dust and molten rubber in the stifling air.
And some are going to die today; but you don’t seem to care.

It’s fine when I can stick to backroads under shady trees
Or racing down a long descent, creating my own breeze.
Compared to those indoors I know how fortunate I am;
But something’s gone profoundly wrong; and you don’t give a damn.

And still you prattle on about the wondrous things you’ll do.
A list of golden promises. And not one word is true.
So while we watch – scared, weary, sickened – as you play your games
Our country’s going down the drain – and our whole world up in flames.

To the sorry collection of idiots, incompetents, fraudsters, fanatics and fantasists currently vying to become leader of the Tory party and the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. All obsessed with tax cuts, culture wars, stroking division and refighting the Brexit battles; and not one of them will do a single solitary thing about the climate emergency. We can only hope that today’s record-breaking temperatures (set to exceed 40C in the UK for the first time ever) are a foretaste of what awaits them in the afterlife. It is the very least they deserve.