poetry pf header


home>poets>Paul McLoughlin

Paul McLoughlin (1947-2021)     about Paul      more poems

this poet is featured in the poetry pRO project

events listing


home button poets button features button

links button shop button about ppf button email ppf button



Previously published in Fire No. 24, 2004

ISSN:1367 031X and What Moves Moves

Shoestring Press, 2004. ISBN: 1 904886 05 1


The Bicycle Garden


                                for Alix Sharkey


        The graves of children who go missing

        are abandoned bicycles set in concrete

        bases lowered into shallow trenches

        by the railway bridge and left to rust.

        The engineer (retired) who tends

        the place says visitors are few—

        he imagines parents driving slowly by

        or peering through the wire-mesh fence

        for a particular shade of paint or rake

        of handlebar, but they don’t come in.


        And there it was, this gaunt tableau

        of BMXs, racers, mountain bikes,

        an aged Vespa with its fairing crushed,

        and tricycles with tassels tied to handlegrips

        or crossbars, where they stayed, seeming,

        to those who looked, to rise up from the ground

        or sink into it. You turn away—


        because there’s no such garden, though

        the bicycles are often all that’s found.

        An end-page columnist invented it,

        when it seemed to him society

        was waging war on being young,

        on children who enticed and let you

        down. So he dreamed a garden for them,

        and the engineer was somehow odd

        enough to make the whole thing real,

        a sleight that left its maker lying

        with the silence in his ears, as if

        some violence had been done.


Paul McLoughlin


last update:

Paul McLoughlin page

via poetry p f

poetry favourites:
Shoestring Press
Library Archive
PN Review
Munster Literature Centre
Poetry Book Society
Guardian Unlimited Books

and in the shop ...
collections -
"The Hungarian Who Beat Brazil"
"Forgetting to Come In",
Shoestring Press;

"Breaking Ground: the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle Poems in Old English and Translation"
Paekakariki Press;
."What Certainty is Like", Smith/Doorstop

© of all poems featured on this site remains with the poet
site feedback welcome