Cycling to work on a winter morning

The hour is dark and the dawn still drowsy
beneath the dim lit rim of the world,
weary with waiting for the stinting short
light of winter. The crisp, clear sky still scored
by starlight and moon domes the chilled world
and draws the gaze skyward as I mount my
red-framed ride, now saddled and ready to roll.

The sliding by of the road beneath me
is a smooth and satisfying run as
my stalwart wheels grip the asphalt lit
by street and head light. I ride frosty air,
I roll, and finger tips are numb and cold
and knife shafts of air stab the face while
beneath me spokes spin and tires glide the
weathered and wheel worn roller coaster roads.

The ambient glow of winter light still
dreams below the shadow of parkland
and town and city-scape to my east but
in the span of minutes a low slung sun
sings itself across the southeast sky; and
with a rip of wind that waters and blinds
the eyes but lifts the heart as I sail
against my frost bit thoughts, I peddle on
to reach my goal, readied and willing and
fresh from frost wind and road to ply my trade.



© Chris McDermott


God is Great?
(For the victims who die ‘in the name of God’)

Allahu Akbar!

A winsome phrase that should sit
alongside ‘Alleluia’ or
‘Namaste’ or
the deep Gassho
of Buddhist friends.

A phrase like that should never coil
in brain like a snake
only to rise
and kill with venom!

When religion contorts
to hate, writes murder as its creed,
turns holy names into a curse
and drowns its lofty claims
with blood and shame.

it dies without honour –
in Dhaka, in Paris, in Istanbul
in Nairobi, New York and Berlin.

They shout praise to Allah
and murder belief in
‘the Compassionate and Merciful’
with ‘God-infused’ hate

And swell ranks of the infidel
who reckon faith’s death
a singular grace
and wear their unbelief
like a veil of sanctity
and a badge of honour.

© Chris McDermott