speedo never tickled tonne

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    twisted throaty throttle, tip-clicked gears,
    piston powered torque had very few peers,
    my knees clamped petrol tank so tightly:
    my Honda roared on rural roads, brightly.

    no crash impacts, I never tumbled,
    megaphone pipe growled and grumbled;
    clothes petrol scented, octane addictive,
    the open road beckoned, speed unrestrictive.

    long journeys alone sometimes taken,
    rain soaked shoes often empty-shaken,
    trouser legs glue-stuck, wet right through:
    peeling them off took an hour or two.

    two years I rode until one fateful day,
    last push-start had high price to pay:
    clutch-lever creased parked car-door:
    damn the worn kickstart, I angrily swore.

    I paid for damage – what a crying shame,
    broker advised against making small claim;
    biking days then finished, all driving done;
    speedo-needle never tickled tonne.

    off-road my boys speed noisy dirt bikes,
    need for speed evident, Facebook likes,
    (where’s that bravado from, i wonder)
    – one serious spill, boy pulled from under.

    high stance rider weaving traffic with ease
    special-mix smell, petrol has power to please;
    i won’t renew lapsed licence, relive lost youth:
    grey hair and mid paunch hardly look uncouth….

    Luke Hemmings, youngest son, need-for-speeder,
    riding classic Yamaha 50cc dirt bike in Wicklow, 2004


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