my heart beats true ...

One of the many things I like to do is browse old bookshops. And in England, there are soooo many used book stores, I'm like a kid in a candy shop - I just cannot leave a shop without a purchase or two ... or three .... So, from one of the many bookshops I entered, I purchased a slim volume of poetry (of course - it's always the first and usually ONLY section I peruse) entitled: Philomena's Revenge by Irish poet Rita Ann Higgins.

I'm becoming more selective in my purchases: a poem has to really grab me to purchase the entire book - and a second poem is needed to woo the volume's way into my hands. Rita's words did just that. So I want to share my favorite of her poems with you about a clockman and a bicycle and his love. I chose this 'steampunk heart' to illustrate because my sweetheart shared it with me, and I like thinking that the clockman's heart beat a steady rhythm against his beloved's breast, for always.

"Old Timers"

She loves the clockman;
she leans on his shoulder
from her bicycle,
cycling slowly
through a field.

Slightly out of step
the botched hip job
leaves him
one foot shorter
than the other.

She adores him;
his slight tick-over
his offbeat with time
but never with her heart.

Children have worn a path
for these old lovers,
harmony; not always seen,
the eye is good
but the heart is better.

They're headed for the pub now.
She loves the clockman;
she leans on his shoulder
from her bicycle.

On their return,
his short step less noticeable,
harmony more visible
as the falling together starts.

The treasured bicycle
now takes third place;
it trails like an unwanted relative,
uncle somebody.

When they hit home
he'll make the tea,
he'll rub her old feet,
they'll make yes and no sentences
for ages with love,

and if the voice is good
she'll sing out to her clockman
sweet youthful melodies,

making him forget
years, months, days,
minutes, seconds,
ticks, tocks,

until the only down-to-earth sound
is the click of her new teeth
as she whispers, gently,

'Love, oh love,
there is no time like the present.'

~by Rita Ann Higgins

ps: an added bonus is a handwritten note penciled on the fronticepiece of the book signed 'love, R.'

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