Column 10

Joy is always difficult to write about in poetry because literature thrives on tension and jeopardy. But when it’s captured well, as in this poem by Jonathan Edwards, it makes for something special. The poem is in Edwards’ collection My Family and Other Superheroes by Seren Books.

 

Nun on a Bicycle

Now here she comes, rattling over cobbles,
powered by her sandals, the gentle downhill
and the grace of God. Now here she comes, her habit

what it was always waiting to become:
a slipstream. Past stop signs, the pedestrian
traffic at rush hour, the humdrum mopeds,

on a day already thirty in the shade:
with her robe fluttering like solid air,
she makes her own weather. Who could blame her,

as the hill sharpens, she picks up speed and smiles
into her future, if she interrupted
the Our Fathers she’s saying in her head,

to say Whee, a gentle Whee, under her breath?
O cycle, Sister! Look at you now, freewheeling
through the air conditioning of the morning –

who’s to say the God who isn’t there
isn’t looking down on you and grinning?

 

Used with kind permission of Jonathan Edwards and Seren Books.