Lone cyclist, breathing hard
drawing in the cold night air.
Yorkshire moors, late October
up ahead a dim light flickers.
Wondering what the light could be
for all the world looks like a flame.
Descending now and closing fast
a coach and horses, team of four.
Not a sound from coach and team
tries to reason, must be real.
Reaches out and grabs a hold
coasting now, being towed.
Two oil lamps, one each side
bright when fanned by evening breeze.
Cyclist wonders, eyes play tricks
decides to stop and wait a while.
Feet on ground, astride his bike
blows on fingers growing cold.
Watching light not far ahead
cyclist ponders on his options.
Riding on a circular course
he’d gone too far, no turning back.
Night air chilling, must move on
in minutes he’d caught up again.
Eyes straining in the dark
looking up to see who’s driving.
Coachman outlined, moonlit sky
cyclist can’t believe his eyes.
A shiver runs, not from cold
a headless coachman driving team.
Cyclist slows, dropping back
trying hard to think things through.
Riding slowly, growing colder
stay behind and wait his chance.
Road will widen up ahead
changes up to higher gear.
Out of saddle, sprinting hard
slight downhill assists his speed.
Flashes by the ambling coach
startled horses rear in fright.
Cyclist feels the biting pain
of horsewhip on his shoulder blade
Silence gone, now the sound
of thundering hooves and cracking whip.
Cyclist riding for his life
uphill climb, lungs are bursting.
Coach is gaining, muscles burning
as he crests the final climb.
Down below the lights of home
shining in the misty night.
Cyclist spinning, highest gear
flashes past the first street lamp.
Listens now but hears no sound
turns to find the coach is gone.
Home again, bike inside
stumbles as he climbs the stairs.
Morning light, he awakes
lays there thinking of his dream.
Bathroom mirror, turns to look
a bright red weal across his back.