I am a brand new mountain bike
My owner’s pride and joy.
I’ve chunky tyres and umpteen gears,
I am his favourite toy.
I’m bright and clean and shiny,
My owner’s joy and pride,
And every weekend without fail
He takes me for a ride.
He loads me on his Volvo,
Drives forty miles and then
He lifts me down and rides two miles
Then drives back home again.
There’s one thing kinda puzzles me,
The trails we ride are flat
I’ve never even seen a hill.
A mountain? What is that?
I love maps.
New maps, old maps, small maps, bold maps
Maps of our village, maps of the world
Unfurling, revealing, uncurled.
I compare yesteryear’s maps with today’s;
See how places change, settlements grow,
Towns spread or forests shrink.
Thinking what was here – just here
In nineteen hundred? In nineteen twenty?
Gives me plenty to think about.
I like to stay with maps, could play with maps all day
Finding not just the way from A
By the quickest, shortest, prettiest route to B,
Avoiding the Motorway, the main road, the unsurfaced county lane
The hills, the one-way streets or any of the hundred differences
That can form a basis for choice.
Maps to me are things to treasure
Sources of unending pleasure
Adding extra depth and colour to what I see
What’s at my feet, in front of me.
But you don’t agree, you ask
“Whatever happened to the SatNav?”
And you scrabble in the glove box
Reaching for the reassuring disembodied voice
“In one hundred yards, turn right.”
In the absence of a SatNav you are lost.
Some people can read music.
Some can read maps,
Deciphering the hieroglyphs that mean nothing to you.
You prefer to read your stories and poems.
The Atlas – a closed book to you.