Steven the poet and I discovered a common interest in cycling. He lives in the Blue Mountains, I’m in Sydney’s Inner West. So we decided to meet in the middle. I thought if I couldn’t quite match Steven on the wheels (and I can’t), I’d try to emulate his achievements in blank verse. Here goes…
Go west, old man, said Steve, so west I went.
Toting bike by train
Dressed in lycra, unflattering,
Though my stomach in
Then disembarked at the station known
with a smirk
as ‘Rooty Hill’.
A cycleway there lies, wide and newish
stretching down beside Westlink M7,
40 kilometres, gleaming smugly.
I cost 30 million dollars, it boasts, so share me
with tax-paying pedestrians.
Yet, just as two kilometres southwards we did ride,
Nay, maybe not so far, we found
The gates against us closed.
We are writers.
Free spirits are we, not bound by
Rules that may apply
To other folk.
Through the gates we slipped
Sprang to the saddle,
And braved the mighty Westlink.
Semis to right of us,
Semis to right of us,
Semis behind us,
Lorried and thundered.
Ours not to reason why
Someone had blundered.
Cars, black and chrome,
Protruding from the windows
Klaxon horns play Colonel Bogan
As they whip between us to the M4 exit ramp.
Max speed 100,
And we but pushing 30.
Let’s get the hell out of here, cries Steven, lest we die.
So we pull over
In the broken glass
of the Emergency Stopping Lane.
Climb concrete barrier
And resume a gentle ride along the cycleway,
Into the park, until we find…
The gates once more are locked against our pleasure.
As rain sets in we ride
Suburban streets with unfamiliar names
Though some are known to us;
Steve tells his poetry from time to time
In schools, and I my stories.
We may have travelled down this road before
In nineteen ninety-three or ninety-four.
Prairiewood, Edensor Park and Wakely
Slip beneath our wheels.
Till we reach Canley Vale,
Vietnamese in nature and in food.
So stop for pho.
The rain stops too and there’s
The pleasing prospect of a pedal,
Round the Prospect Reservoir
The gates once more…you guessed it…
Yet one there is, a gentleman
Who carries with him keys,
And lets us through.
Onwards we ride and upwards and until,
When nearly safely home in Rooty Hill,
We find the sign below.
For further information
the website ere you ride.
And here the route
For an inzoomable map
of the route,
P.S. Who says writing poetry’s hard?
If you don’t try to make it rhyme,