The road twice travelled

9 March 2011 § 8 Comments

A different view

The spirit that drove us
Off the plain, over the water,
Through the mountains, to the moon,
Rebels at retracing a single step.
But every road
Is two roads:
Heading out
That flock of pigeons lent the shaw
An outlandish foliage of white and grey;
Now they dot the grass below
Like morning mushrooms in September;
When it was on my left
I never saw that ditch was newly cleared,
Its sloping sides scraped clean, and smooth as butter;
Those ponies are on their feet now;
A new buzzard casts its shadow over Plashett Wood;
My old friend the kestrel
Is back at his habitual post on the telephone wires,
Where his vole-revealing eyes relentlessly defoliate the field;
And I’d swear those primroses
Weren’t shining palely in the hedge-bottom
When I passed five minutes back.
In the time it took
To stop, decide, dismount and wheel around
The world has turned,
Reshaped itself:
The steep ascents I struggled up
Are gentle swoops and whooping glides;
The sun is warm and on my face
And those two magpies in the meadow
Cancel out their single, sorrowful brother
And send me smiling home.

Reckoned it was about time for another cycling poem. Normally I aim to ride in loops, but on Monday, I ended up doing an out-and-back. A simple switch of direction and suddenly everything was different. I was amazed by how many things (even if only small) could change in a few minutes, and how much I noticed going back that I had missed completely heading out.

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§ 8 Responses to The road twice travelled

  • belfastdavid says:


    A simple reflection which points up that the way the world looks depends entirely on our state of mind.

    I shall put a smile on my face before I set out to walk into Leeds this morning πŸ™‚

  • gonecycling says:

    Thank you David – we’re all so hellbent on ‘progress’ it’s easy to forget that the answers are often there all along; we just need to look at things from a different angle sometimes. And yes, I’m as guilty as anyone! Hope Leeds treats you well today.

  • Ina says:

    That is beautiful! Views are always changing, for those who care to see. πŸ™‚ I will try and keep an eye on things more closely when I ride my bike (but also stay focussed on the road lol)
    Have a nice day πŸ™‚

  • gonecycling says:

    Thank you for your very kind comment, Ina – glad you enjoyed the poem. You’re lucky enough to live in one of the world’s great cycling nations; one day I hope to come and experience Dutch cycling for myself. So far, I’ve only got as far as Belgium!

    • Ina says:

      You should come to Terschelling (where I live); plenty of cycle roads here! πŸ™‚

      • gonecycling says:

        I must say I like the sound of Holland. Some good friends of ours (our daughters are best friends at school) are Dutch and they’re the coolest people we know. He’s a doctor and did some of his training in accident-and-emergency in an Amsterdam hospital. There isn’t much he hasn’t seen – the stories he can tell you…

  • slpmartin says:

    One of my other loves is photography…a friend of my John ( always reminds me when I travel to turn around and look back…noting the perspective on what you just saw has changed…I found wonderful photos following his little rule….how well you’ve presented it here.

  • gonecycling says:

    Msny thanks for your comment, and the link to John’s blog: he’s a really talented fellow. I love his ‘Windmills’, and ‘Path through life’. Always good to find new stuff to enjoy.

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