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 Here’s the poem, unpublished and forgotten, until I saw her again today.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.



2018 Book of the Year

Beyond categories!!

I moved to a different kind of reckoning of my favourite books this year, eschewing the categorisations that have served me well for more than twenty years. What I’ve been finding is that the categories aren’t as fixed as they once seemed anyway, so this year I’ve just gone for books I read this year (not necessarily published this year).




  1. Jesus’s Son by Dennis Johnson (S)
  2. Henry David Thoreau (a life) by Laura Walls (NF)
  3. Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas by Matthew Hollis (NF)
  4. The Peregine by J. A. Baker (NF)
  5. The Mirror of the Sea by Joseph Conrad (NF)
  6. His Dark Material (vol. 1, 2, and 3) by Joseph Pullman (F)
  7. The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton (F)
  8. The Dark is Rising (vol. 1, 2, 3, 4) by Susan Cooper (F)
  9. A Shout in the Ruins by Kevin Power (F)
  10. In Pursuit of Spring by Edward Thomas (NF)
  11. Landskipping by Anna Pavord (NF)

You can read more about my reading, and past winners over at my other page here.

Coming soon, my books of the year

I aimed to read 40 books this year. According to the good folk at GoodReads I’ve read 35, with a couple on the go. I might not quite get there.

Nevertheless, I will be publishing my annual book of the year awards soon! I enjoy looking back on the year and what I enjoyed and, as so often happens in reading, one book leads to another.

You can see my previous winners listed HERE.