Sunday, 30 September 2018

From a bicycle saddle

Here's a poem I wrote to celebrate my achievement of visiting every town, village and hamlet in Bedfordshire, on my bike. To record the odyssey, I photographed my bike propped against the signpost identifying each stop. There are a couple of hundred photos, but not everywhere has a signpost, so there's a few less than you'll find on lists of places in Bedfordshire, such as Lower Shelton, just up the road. I suspect it was removed when they built the new A421. The idea of cycling through every one of these places in Bedfordshire was to some extent inspired by a poem written by Frank Batt, which you can listen to here on YouTube. Frank wrote about cycling to Sandy along the Route 51 cycle path, in the style of W. H. Auden's The Night Mail, something I did myself here on Blogger a while back. Check out the video of the image above here.

From a bicycle saddle


Blurring past railings, blurring past fences,
edges and verges, cobbles and courses;
I'm cycling along like there's no time to waste,
on 'til I reach home, I'd better make haste:
all of the sights by the downs and the vales
fly past as quick as binders' flails;

see where I've been on Bedfordshire Clangers,
no energy gels for Sharpenhoe Clappers;
see where I stopped to stare in amaze
on the prow of the hill under sky ablaze!
Out on my bike I'm a man with no woes,
stuck to my pedals with cleats under toes;
up here and down there, and on by the Ouse;
a poem on the page thanks to the muse.

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