A Bike Ride through Thame on the Anniversary of his Death
At first, there’s nothing but M40 snarl. Nearer,
hollow town voices, crisp leaves under wheels,
a quick rustle of wings, a baby’s wail, a click of gears.
The equinox is past. The old sun blinds. Cold wind steals
body-heat, freezes my face as I force legs to pedal uphill.
There’s no birdsong. They’ve queued up on roofs, targets
on a shooting range; mobbed, resettled, chattered. Now,
shrill rain erupts, old ladies scuttle. Rain batters the market.
Stallholders shrug, clasp hot mugs, watch the tartan trollies scatter
into gift and coffee shops. They’ll pull up paper masks from throats,
peer at ornaments, cakes, through foggy lenses. Above chimneys
and shopfronts, the bruised sky swells. A gust knifes my coat.
This town was too posh for Dad. Full of rich sods,
he’d say. Not meant for the likes of us common clods.
Pen Kease used to be a secondary school teacher but now writes poems instead. Pen has a recent MA in Writing from the University of Warwick and her poems have been published in a range of literary magazines and websites, including The Interpreter’s House, The Recusant, Militant Thistles, and Prole Magazine. She lives in South Oxfordshire with husband and cat, and cares for a scattered family as best she can.