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 ©

India

On endless rich, deep carpet pile

To endless polished marble mile

Excitedly we stride

Towards a wall

Of glass and steel

Which effortlessly glides

 

Assaulted by the heat and smell

The noise, the fuss, the clamour

The poorest-poor lie unnoticed

Besides the gold and glamour.

 

I taste the air, its fragrance thick

With car exhaust and turmeric

A thousand fossil bonfires

Fill the air and shroud the glow

Of burning incandescent orb,

Translucent orange/yellow

 

The taxi swiftly zips along

The fresh new tarmac highway

With little dwellings here and there

And kids in every byway

 

Holy cow!

The hornéd one

Strolls slowly down the middle

As if she knows she’s deity

And we’re all second fiddle!

 

Incessant drone 

Of blaring horn

From tuk-tuk, car and lorry

Don’t sound in anger

But to say “I’m turning right or overtaking,

I’m really very sorry!”

Permanent the smoky haze

Hangs low like ochre, cigarette days

The cricket wing cacophony 

I cannot get it off of me

The memory of that magic land

That river valley

That henna hand

Is permanently etched upon my very soul

A land so young, so curious

And yet so very old

So wise and yet so much to learn

As dreams take me back 

Still smouldering it burns

Our silver bird punches right through

An arrowhead to skies of blue

And what beholds me 

I’m agog!

A string of pearls 

Beyond the smog!

Just north of this smoky dome-like layer

Lies the entire Himalaya

A chain of snow-capped rocky mounts

These craggy forts the very founts

Of a thousand little tributaries

Which feed this vast expanse

As stream becomes a surging torrent

The mighty rivers all advance 

A mighty warlike tribal drum 

The beating of her steady thrum 

The twisting canyons she has carved 

Tower high above and barely halve

The distance down to where she flows 

Each bend a turn which petrifies 

As down you look into her eyes 

The snarling crocodilian river

So sharp, so fierce it makes you shiver

Yet high on Gangtok’s verdant top

A city stands so tall so bright

A city bursting full of light

In ‘Switzerlandish’ type Tibet

This Alpine paradise is set

The mists which here 

Taste oh so clear 

Are far removed from distant Delhi

Make poinsettia grow to 6 feet high 

And flora blooms a’plenty!

So haunting is this ancient land

Her vibrancy, her laugh, her dance

She penetrates my night visions

And puts me in a trance

I’ll always cherish knowing her

Her song, her joy, her art

Eternally her sun will burn

Within my aching heart.

P J Deakin 2016 ©