The Rider

I saw her again this morning.  I wrote a poem about her over twenty years ago. I hadn’t seen her for years and I was astounded to see that familiar hunched figure ride by me on my walk this morning. She’s older now, obviously, but I recognised her immediately, the too-big helmet lopsided on the head, and especially the hunched figure pedalling by. Here’s the poem, unpublished and forgotten, until I saw her again today.

 

The Riders

In bulbous headgear they are riding,
or walking the darkened streets
before dawn.

In the flat suburbs away from the bay
they are waking and running
selves away
from self,
becoming insubstantial
and invisible.

In morning mist in autumn
they are silvery wraiths.

By mid-morning they have disappeared
into TV worlds
more real than the ghosts of the washing
luminous in the back yard
or the wind across the unmown lawn.

Around the cold streets she rides
helmeted head too big for a body
wasted by the long pedalling to nowhere,
thin legs and chest
a hunched haunted look.

She rides the daylight hours,
through the path and passage of her dreaming,
rides till she is light and flighty,
always some destination in mind
that is never quite here.

But which will be golden
and weightless.

 

 

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