Infinite Wheels – James Knox Whittet

The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition
2005 Crabbe Memorial Competition – First Prize
Adjudicator: Danielle Hope

Unmoving, you move through the mountains
of Wicklow still. Eyes closed to the coming
stainless silence, the old haunts never more present.*
You propel your imagined wheels in unvarying
circles like the rims of Vico’s history where
cycles of sufferings revolve like riddled leaves.

I see you pedal impassively along confined
roads across moors where dark pools reflect
altering sequences of cloud: the angular
spaces between pyramids of peat shot through
with pellets of sunlight, as the sea entices
in smoked distance with its waves.

The tramps in your plays bear the imprints
of cycle clips long after they’ve lost their bikes:
they pine for their days of effortless motion:
happily downhill all the way with the scented
wind sifting their sparse locks of hair, beating
back the too solid air in their eternal figure of 8.

Like you, they long for the stillness
of cycling motion: that sensuous sail past
hedged fields where cattle revolve their jaws
on regurgutated grass. I see you again, on your
bed of death, raise your leaded right leg
to mount once more those infinite wheels.

*In his last years, Beckett, when closing his eyes, was transported to the loved landscape he cycled through as a child.

Copyright © James Knox Whittet 2005

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