Ode

The choice of today’s contribution to poetry month was inspired by news about the cycle way .

 

Ode by Gillian Allnutt comes from All the Poems You Need to Say I Do, edited by Peter Forbes, published by Picador.

 

Ode

 

To depict a (bicycle) first you must come to love (it).

Alexander Block

 

I swear by every rule in the bicycle

owner’s manual

 

that I love you, I, who have repeatedly,

painstakingly,

 

with accompanying declaration of despair,

tried to repair

 

you, to patch things up,

to maintain a workable relationship.

 

I have spent sleepless nights

in pondering your parts – those private

 

and those that all who walk the street

may look at –

 

wondering what makes you tick

over smoothly, or squeak.

 

my trusty steed,

my rusty three-speed,

 

I would feed you the best oats

if oats

 

were applicable.

Only linseed oil

 

will do

to nourish you.

 

I want

So much to paint

 

You,

Midnight blue

 

mudgutter black

And standing as you do, ironic

 

At the rail

Provided by the Council –

 

beautiful

the sun caught in your back wheel –

 

or at home in the hall, remarkable

among other bicycles,

 

your handlebars erect.

Allow me to depict

 

you thus. And though I can’t do justice

to your true opinion of the surface

 

 

of the road –

put into words

 

the nice distinctions that you make

among the different sorts of tarmac –

 

still, I’d like to set the record of our travels straight.

I’d have you know that

 

not with three-in-one

but with my own

 

heart’s spittle I anoint your moving parts.

 

Gillian Allnutt.

 

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