Maybe. Just have to see
How legs and heart
Feel when I start. Could be
They’ll baulk, rebel;
And though I beg and scold, just tell me:
You can go to hell
And we’re not coming.
Then again, could be they’re humming
Like a Swiss-made sewing machine
And strong, serene,
I’ll spin through town, into the great
Wide open; hill and mountain will prostrate
Themselves before me. One way to know:
Get on. And go.
Set out today
To look for a line;
A thought, a word
Picked up on the road
And carried home
To keep a pledge
Made to an empty page.
Only to find
My mind consumed
By the unconscious calculus
Of carving through an off-camber curve;
Weaving down a pot-holed hill
Like a raindrop on a window-pane;
Ticking off long, level miles
With well-drilled diesel diligence;
Hustling over heart-freeze crossroads
Like a prisoner dodging the searchlights’ glare.
An hour’s artless, guiltless pleasure,
My mission and all sense of time forgotten.
Yet on returning
Found that my work was done.
A lesson learned when I was young: always
Climb straight back on each time you take a fall.
Had it drummed in on sweating, circling days
(With ‘heels down’, ‘elbows in’ and ‘sit up tall’).
They taught me well, those steely souls who forced
Me to get up, brush myself off, remount
And carry on each time I was unhorsed
And tasted dust (more times than I can count).
But now the saddle seems too high; the aches
And pains of years conspire to confound
A hell-for-leather comeback from mistakes
And wrecks, leave me afoot, tied to the ground.
I have a choice: to stand here at the rail
And watch; or try again, and dare to fail.
I tried so hard to quit:
Did my utmost to hang ‘em up,
Laboured long to let it go,
And strived to make it
I bent my will
To turn a corner
And after ceaseless struggle
Thought I’d found
A different path
And determined to walk it
Without a glance behind.
But everything about
The bike and all the life
That went with it
Just sounded wrong
When put into the perfect tense.
I’ve slipped back into my old ways;
To the hard and fast rules
Of the road.
And I have to say:
Never felt so good.