Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Cycling Poems for Burns Night

Last year Burns Night came and went without another thought and by the time I thought about doing any poetry stuff we were already into February . I said to myself what the heck, and posted some cycling poetry by the poetry hipster, Murray Lachlan Young anyway. This year, I have diarised the event and have even managed to dig out a few verses. Mike Garry, who like Young wrote a poem to celebrate the Tour de France in Yorkshire. It was first recited at a poetry concert called Fear and Loathing in Harrogate, broadcast on the BBC. The evening also featured contributions from other rock'n'roll poets like Phil Jupitus and John Cooper Clarke. I will probably save their poems for Burn Night next year!
Below, there's also a poem by Pablo Neruda, a celebrated Chilean poet who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1971. Finally, I have included a short ditty that I found on a poetry blog. It's about cycling in October, but I think it's just as relevant in January. Enjoy! And now, time for haggis!



Le Tour De Yorkshire
I saw athletes meet and walk the cobbled streets
Roaming soles were pounding Roman roads
I saw Olympians stand hand in hand
Medal winners standing toe to toe
And Calves did burn on Leyburns hairpin turns
In Glossop the cycling seeds were sown
And not a single frown could be found in any Yorkshire town
And kids are smiling everywhere you go
In East and West Witton the cycling shorts don’t fit them
Big boys in tight tee shirts look daft
But they don’t care if you wanna point and stare
Cos this weekend we’re all game for a laugh
In Constable Burton the locals are certain
They’ve serve the greatest bitter in the land
And they’re probably right cos on Saturday night
Neither man nor woman could stand
I saw one kids face look like he’d just won the race
I saw his gran stood behind him weeping love
His mams eyes were on fire cos his dad’s just retired
To the golden Peloton up above
I saw smiles for miles from a million Yorkshire guys
A million twinkles in the eyes of Yorkshire girls
I saw Sheffield streets where secret lovers meet
Become the centre of the cycling universe
And in Harewood and Ottley I’ve heard Parisians Cockney
Singing Allez allez allez allez go
The tea was sweet and milky
In both Burley and Ilkley
And the tea girls in Bettys know
There’s only one thing better than a yellow sweater
There’s only one thing sweeter than a Yorkshire cup of tea
And that the love your land is like the love of your mam
And that love cannot be beat
Mike Garry (2014)

Biking is my only Medecine for me 
Fast through the cold wind
I can't even feel my fingers about to fall off
When I bike I'm in the present 
There's no past there's no future
Just keep on biking 
Go fast 
Gliding with the wind

I just wanna bike away


Ode to Bicycles

I was walking
down
a sizzling road:
the sun popped like
a field of blazing maize,
the
earth
was hot,
an infinite circle
with an empty
blue sky overhead.
A few bicycles
passed
me by,
the only
insects
in
that dry
moment of summer,
silent,
swift,
translucent;
they
barely stirred
the air.
Workers and girls
were riding to their
factories,
giving
their eyes
to summer,
their heads to the sky,
sitting on the
hard
beetle backs
of the whirling
bicycles
that whirred
as they rode by
bridges, rosebushes, brambles
and midday.
I thought about evening when
the boys
wash up,
sing, eat, raise
a cup
of wine
in honor
of love
and life,
and waiting
at the door,
the bicycle,
stilled,
because
only moving
does it have a soul,
and fallen there
it isn't
a translucent insect
humming
through summer
but
a cold
skeleton
that will return to
life
only
when it's needed,
when it's light,
that is,
with
the
resurrection
of each day.

Pablo Neruda (1956)


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