The Rhythm of the Race

I run to the rhythm of a 4/4 beat
It’s percussion brings a meaning to my ever-pounding feet
Every inch a victory, every mile a stone
Every challenge that I conquer
Is an enemy overthrown

Seeeya ha harrrhah
Seeeya ha harrrhah
Seeeya ha harrrhah
Seeeya ha harrrhah

Navajo staccato rhythm breathed loudly in defiance
My lungs breath deep 
The clean fresh air 
No longer ventolin reliant 

I reach my toes and guide my feet
Through muddy tracks
And cobbled street
With wind in face and sweat on back
I bow my head and plod my track

Each runner set before me 
Is a battleground to take
Each landmark I attain 
Is a fortress that I stake

And lay my claim 
To victory
Over self and doubt and past
And blistered feet and aching bones 
And times I wasn’t fast.

But finishing is what we seek
Our eyes like flint on goal
And as we strive to reach that line 
The end will make us whole

Every single sinew strains
Your focused eye unwavering 
And faster now the heart-drum pounds 
As finish line you’re savouring

Hiyaha haw-haw, hiyaha haw-haw
The tribal chieftain cries
Every fibre of your being is straining for that prize.

High lift knees and rapid feet 
Emerge with sudden kick 
As you relish this – your chosen moment 
And take a hungry lick 

Of the feast of opportunity that lies now at your feet
Calves and thighs in synergy and faster yet the beat
And poured out like an offering
Is this heady, sweaty potion

To a god of sport and energy
To a demigod of motion.
Your passion etched across your face 
You pass them one by one 
And take your place in history
As one who came and won.

P J Deakin 2017 ©

Learning to Run

When I was at school I wasn’t particularly good at sport. Enthusiastic, but not good. 

I couldn’t dribble so was last in the queue when picking teams for footy.  I couldn’t catch or throw so cricket was out, and everyone seemed to be faster than me and so with  asthma there seemed little point in running.

The one event I enjoyed doing was the 1500m. I was the slowest, every time but I consoled myself that I had finished and that having two boys who ran for the county in my race was hardly a fair comparison. 

When I was about to leave school I suddenly shot up. I went from 5th shortest lad In the year to among the ten tallest!

I grew legs and discovered that the lads who had beat me up and beaten me in the flat race on sports day since time immemorial were now easy to avoid. These legs had a stride which could outpace most of the lads in my year now.

By the time I discovered this new tool, I had left school and so sports day was just a memory and to me it all seemed like too little, too late.

I wasn’t aware of running clubs and didn’t think there was any point in approaching athletics clubs as I didn’t know how or what they would do.

As an asthmatic I struggled with breathing and so was never able to get far enough to build the stamina for running.

So I avoided sport, generally. But when at College I had an evening job in town, my shift finished 5 minutes after the bus left and so I would have a 20 minute wait for another. I took to racing the bus from Market Street to Victoria Centre as it went round the blocks and picked up the extra passengers.

But then I started to run for fun. I used to run the bus route, with a couple of shortcuts, to see how far I could get before the bus caught up with me. I would regularly reach Sneinton Crossing (halfway home) before the bus caught up with me. Despite this I didn’t get involved in any running events. 

I left college and started work and forgot all about sport. Marriage and children requires dedication and devotion and so once again I forgot about sport.

A sponsored event at work a few years ago came along. A sponsored Santa Fun Run. I trained for it and surprised myself at my renewed stamina.

A previous job working nights at a supermarket had caused me to gain weight in a favourable way and I gained 30 about pounds. In 2 months I had gone from 10 1/2 to 12 1/2 stones (147 pounds to 175 pounds)

No longer a skinny weakling in danger of being blown away by a gust of wind, I now filled my broad frame and my lungs were stronger, asthma no longer an issue.

I started to run 5km regularly 2 to 3 times per week and increased my distance up to 10km to raise money for a trip to work with a children’s charity in India.

After the event I stopped training. The. A year ago a friend I’d made through my drama society encouraged me along to the local ParkRun. I took part and was pleased with the noticeable improvements in my fitness and performance.

Yet again I lost interest a little as Summer’s heat took my breath away. Having moved house in the New Year I determined to persevere with the running and booked myself a place in a Half Marathon in my hometown of Nottingham for September as an inspiration and target to get me out of bed on Saturday morning.

Since then I’ve seen my time splits plummet as I’ve turned up each week, joined the local running club and signed up for an additional half marathon this Sunday, the Ramathon in Derby.

I used to think that sport was something I would never be good at. Some people just had it and some, like me, didn’t. But I have realised that some sports are less about skill and more about practice.

Anyone can run. How often and how far is up to you, but anyone can do it. I’m already looking ahead to next year for my first marathon.  I’m not the fittest person, but I’ve learned that with hard work and determination I can achieve much more than I ever thought possible and so can you!

Choose to Love

On a cold, starry night,
Two young people wander
On a journey, their lives to discover
As a man led his donkey 
To Bethlehem town
Her cargo, a soon-to-be Mother

With pain she’d looked back
As they’d left Nazareth
The hatred they’d shown had surprised her
When the people perceived
That the babe was conceived
Out of wedlock, they’d all ostracised her.

No room could be found 
In King David’s home town

For the couple and their precious burden
As she cried out in pain
One man listened again 
Calling out, 
They both paused as they heard him

“I have here a stable
It’s not much to see
But it’s warm and it’s dry and it’s free!”

Tired from their journey
The young aching Mother 
Lay down in the hay to give birth
Such humble beginnings 
For this newborn child
The King of all kings of the Earth!

Surrounded by livestock
And sacrifice lambs
The unblemished Lamb he was born
In a cow’s feeding trough
He made his first bed
His clothes made of rags that were torn

Shepherds came to visit He
Whom Angels had adored
And silently they worshipped Him, 
The tiny infant Lord

Whilst still a toddler
Wise men came from Persian lands afar
Recounting their incredible tale
A sparkling bright guiding star!

Dictator King, Herod the Great
Explodes with rage and fear
A newborn King to take his throne
Lived in a town so near!?

A massacre, the despot decrees
Consumed so by his hatred
Each boy child of two years or less
Must be exterminated!

Awoken by a warning dream
The father wakes his family
Heads south to Egypt to escape, 
Political refugees.

This humble Jesus, born so low
Our own hearts does unveil…
And reminds us all to love once again
In this familiar Nativity tale.

P J Deakin 2015 ©

Liverpool

Each building stands defiantly
Denying its’ slave-trading past
Each whaling wharf an echo 
Of an epoch that has passed

Each street upon her steepest banks
Looks down towards the river
That cataract of life and health
That Global Treasure-Giver

This lifeblood of an ancient city
Is scattered on her people 
From Everton to Formby Sands 
From Anfield’s Kop to Steeple

This cosmopole of life and language
A north-west English muddle
The birthplace of a culture change
This vibrant Liverpuddle

A haemorrhage of song and rhyme
Pours out from every alley
From Merseybeat originates
Each soulful Scouser’s rally

This laughter-filled 
Renouncing cry
Seems somehow idiotic
This juxtapose of witty song
Is socio-patriotic 

But this town built the mighty ships
That put the Great in Britain
That sailed across this sapphire sphere
And wrote books never written

From a natural tidal inlet 
Was the Old Dock erstwhile based
The ancient “Pool” that gave its name
To Liver’s resting place 

Today the cormorants stand high
Atop the white stone dome
With wings outstretched did these birds bless
Their native naval home

P J Deakin 2016 ©

Farage Rhymes with Garage 

I feel the time has come for me to publicly disparage
The smug obnoxious Xenophobe Whose surname rhymes with garage

His out and out rejection of immigration, blacks and Hanukkah
Seems to me to be an irony
Given the pronunciation of his moniker!

Farage has rather a Frankish twang
A certain je ne sais quoi!
So how can a man with such obvious French ancestry 
Be so quick to bar?!

I’ve concluded he’s a masochist,
His campaign has left him jobless
He turned up at his office, Friday
And to the lot said “cobblers!”

He’s a man I find so easy to hate
Yet many rally to him
But while the snake may have fooled them
I personally see right through him.

His thin-veiled threats of anarchy 
And Anglo-ruled apartheid
Are not a threat but promises
To whitewash all of England’s past
And make us Dulux White!

But I’m Irish, see. (Well, my grandma was!)
And my name has Norman virtue
And my Grandad’s name’s from Viking times
So where do I return to??!

Do I fly to Cork to find a life
In Ireland’s southernmost town,
Or sail to Normandy or in fact
To Denmark settle down.

There’s no such thing as English
We’re a multicultural nation!
Anglo (French) and Saxon (German) is hardly pure breeding
But these people want to rewrite the books 
Historians will be reading.

Without the Normans
Would an Englishman’s home
His castle still remain?
And without Vikings would we be
The mariners we became?

The Romans built our towns and roads
But what have they ever done for us?!
The Irish built the railway lines 
So you don’t have to take the bus!

The Windies brought us colour
With their music, style and vision
Imagine the long Winter of discontent 
Without the reggae rhythm

The 70’s opened doors to India
And business Pakistani
Well, what would be the lads night out
Without a Biryani?!

As Berlin’s wall was taken down
I wept a tear of triumph
No longer will we leave in fear 
Of those prehistoric giants 

Of xenophobia, greed and envy 
Even South Africa followed suit,
But now arise a generation 
Who gives the lot the boot!

Take a long look at your English lives 
As you dine at Swedish tables 
Watching Japanese TV’s
Drive your German car to work upon 
A hundred foreign labels!

Each wave that came has made this home 
And starting at the bottom 
Has put to shame our lazy lives 
By remembering what we’ve forgotten

Integrity comes from deep within 
From earning honest bread
From working till you are worn out
And collapsing in your bed

No restless sleep for he who works
And earns his daily crust 
But on his efforts he can lean
And on his hands he’ll trust.

The Tories stole your benefits 
They questioned if you’re able
They forced the pound to be so strong 
You struggled to lay your table

But Farage blamed all the immigrants 
Those nasty foreign scum
He said they stole your nationhood
And you believed his lying tongue.

He set the fuse and waited for
The shit to hit the fan,
And now the news,
He’s buggered off!
What a spineless little man!

P J Deakin 2016©