Column 11

This deceptively simple poem turns out to be a touching tribute from a son to his father set in an age before the rise of the modern health and safety culture. It’s from Matthew Paul’s collection The Evening Entertainment by Eyewear Publishing.

The Sidecar

Dad affixed ‘the egg’ to his BSA 600 side valve:
no more weaving between traffic lanes
like next door’s tomcat squeezing through the fence.

After their first spin, from Mill Hill to Staples Corner,
Mum laughed, ‘It’s just like a dodgem.’
Samuel slept on her lap throughout the trip

until he woke at lights, bushbaby-eyed and babbly,
as if the speed and vivacity were exactly why
he’d been forceped into the family.

Dad recollects those times with eyelids shut:
each wheezy kick-start and low, grunting rev
makes the lucent white of his memory run.

 

Used with kind permission of Matthew Paul and Eyewear Publishing.