Frozen with fear

That moment.
Round the corner
And it
all
just
goes.

From calm, unthinking black
To glassy, deathly white
In one sharp breath
And a shocking spike
Driven through my chest:

All connection
With the solid, blessed earth
Snatched away;

Cut loose
From the soothing clasp
Of friendly, faithful friction.

Nerves yanked tight,
Muscles seizing:
Every wolf and lion our fathers ever saw
Springing out of time
And suddenly recalled;

The helpless dread of drowning
On dry land.

Aeon seconds
And then the sagging joy
Of grip and sanity regained.

But more awaits:

I feel it in my bones.

 

After more than 20 years and many thousands of miles in all conditions, I readily confess that I’m still petrified, almost literally, by icy roads. There’s not much ice about at the moment – indeed, there’s hardly been any all winter – but yesterday I rounded a corner and found myself on a veritable skating-rink, the surface smooth and glassy from verge to verge. I got through OK, and in my whole cycling career, I’ve had only a couple of minor ‘offs’ on black ice, never a serious fall, so I should really get over it. Just can’t, somehow. N.

Ruba’i: Thaw

The snow and ice are in retreat;
Clear water sparkles in the street
And my mind turns once more to Spring
When Winter finally knows defeat.

Dank days and endless evenings bring
Bleak, melancholy thoughts that ring
Like curfew bells inside my head
And set the darkness echoing.

Long months the woods and fields lie dead
And, with them, joy. An aching dread
Of all the life I’ve left undone
Leaves me unsleeping in my bed.

But soon the battle will be won:
The ground will warm, the sap will run,
And hope will rise up with the sun.
And hope will rise up with the sun.

 

This is my first-ever attempt at the ruba’i, but I already know it won’t be my last (you have been warned!) It’s a very humble homage to one of my poet-heroes, Robert Frost, who adopted the same form for his incomparable ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’.

Riddle III

I lie in wait, a cold gleam in my eye,
In shady spots, on bends, so hard to see
Till it’s too late. My time is slipping by:
For though long Ages have belonged to me
In which I levelled mountains, shattered stone
I cannot last forever. Comes the day
When my old foe will rise; with warmth alone
Melt my defences, make me run away.
And should my playful tug at sole or wheel
Raise bruises, break your bones, I’ll make amends:
The injuries I cause I help to heal;
Just hold me close and soon we shall be friends.
And when you feel the world just doesn’t care,
You need not drink alone; for I’ll be there.

 

Couldn’t resist it. This one should be a bit easier…stay safe out there, folks.