To depict a (bicycle), you must first come to love (it).
I swear by every rule in the bicycle
that I love you, I, who have repeatedly,
with accompanying declaration of despair,
tried to repair
you, to patch things up,
to maintain a workable relationship.
I have spent sleepless nights
in pondering your parts – those private
and those that all who walk the street
may look at –
wondering what makes you tick
over smoothly, or squeak.
my trusty steed,
my rusty three-speed,
I would feed you the best oats
Only linseed oil
to nourish you.
so much to paint
and standing as you do, ironic
at the rail
provided by the Council –
the sun caught in your back wheel –
or at home in the hall, remarkable
among other bicycles,
your handlebars erect.
Allow me to depict
you thus. And though I can’t do justice
to your true opinion of the surface
of the road –
put into words
the nice distinctions that you make
among the different sorts of tarmac –
still I’d like to set the record of our travels straight.
I’d have you know that
not with three-in-one
but with my own
spittle I anoint your moving parts.
– Gillian Allnutt