‘A Lady Cyclist Learns to Cycle (England, 1917)’ by Jonathan Davidson


They led it round the garden and yard
on a long rein.
They fed it oil.

It was black as my jet black boots,
heavy as a gate.
It ticked, shone.

Climbing on it, I felt it shy,
lunge beneath me,
clatter to earth.

They held me up, the men, laughing,
shouldered me round,

The guns of Passchendaele bellowed.
The men held me.
It shook, I shook,

but when they let go I did not
let go, but moved
forward, shouting.
(from Moving the Stereo ISBN 0948282126, Jackson’s Arm, 1993 and forthcoming in Selected Poems, Smith/Doorstop 2013)
Jonathan Davidson’s second collection, Early Train, was published by Smith/Doorstop in 2011. He lives in the English Midlands.