228mph or, The Falconer
Here’s a poem I wrote for a Teach First poetry slam we held yesterday – mine didn’t end up being performed (although the poem which did was very good) – so I thought it might be nice to blog it instead…
Two-Hundred and Twenty-Eight Miles an Hour, or
This, he says to his leathery arm, is only a baby.
Perched and alert, the crystalline bird’s eyes
stare through us – all fire and ice. He strokes its beak.
‘What can be the big speed?’ Asks a fledgling English-speaker.
Two-hundred and twenty-eight miles an hour
they dive. The speed of F-1, of guzzling horse-power:
Tiny ragged rockets, missile-beaked,
Vertical talons of glycerine light.
But two-hundred and twenty-eight miles an hour, he says,
Misjudged, and wings on fences rip.
Two-hundred and twenty-eight miles an hour, he says,
Mis-timed, and bright claws bruise to blue.
Two hundred and twenty-eight miles an hour, he says,
These pigeon-bomb airy stealth fighters
Can self-destruct slice on telephone wires.
The falconer looks at the horizon, the sky, the past,
and says: It’s never the superstars which last.