Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Now his tongue tastes of mint and apples

On the 100th anniversary of the First World War......

Boy on a Bicycle

A boy rides a bicycle before the first world war. He is eighteen,
almost nineteen - a man, really - and wears his new uniform with
pride. He is cycling along an embankment on the outskirts of a
small town. The sun is halfway towards noon, the wind tousling his
light brown hair; his pinkish lips are mouthing a music-hall ditty
under his sparse moustache. He is going to see a girl he used to know.

He has no idea he will be dead in a week, his legs thrown out the
wrong way under a snarl of barbed wire. Now he marvels at the
warmth of his muscles as the chain drives the wheels around.
Now his tongue tastes of mint and apples.

James Roderick Burns, 'Ten Poems about Bicycles'

One Hundred Years of Memory: http://www.1914.org/why_remember/

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