Time and Motion



The wheel of the wheelchair, slewed a little sideways

Looks like a spinning wheel, a wheel of fortune

A union of things, a reconciling;

But it has moved, the scene is shifting.


“A wheelchair user” – could be to bring home shopping

Or charge at inconsiderate cyclists yelling

The wheel is latticed by strong light and by shadows.


The aircraft rests, the wing is a fine sculpture

Voluptuous, a curve and line creation

The aircraft flies, at height in the blue sky the wing, though glittering

Vanishes in the implacable mark of movement.


The sharp white rose has grown to these red berries

That look like spots of blood or scattered jewels

Though they will fall and rot, the rule of briars

Spreads over the abandoned ironwork of the quarry.


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  1. I want to know how you read this poem Simon….what compelled you to write about it?

  2. Neel, this is one of the poems where I really can’t answer such questions. I feel like an informed critic exploring the poem from outside. But let me try. The spark was sitting in a silent Quaker meeting attended by someone in a wheelchair. Light was flooding into the room and making parts of the wheelchair shine. I focussed on the wheels and found them beautiful.

    I suppose the poem is about beauty and change. The wheelchair and the aircraft can be viewed many ways, and their purpose is practical, but they can be things of beauty. The quarry and its abandoned machinery were ugly, but they are being transformed by a wild overgrowth of wild roses, which themselves are things of beauty only briefly (twice over, as flowers and as berries) but which are reborn.

    I wanted to use words which expressed beauty.

  3. The reason I asked is because I got a very different meaning from it. I saw a different possibility and needed to clarify. Thank you for explaining.

  4. Well, while I don’t share the view that any meaning read into a poem is as good as any other, there may well be hidden meanings not obvious to the writer. What was your take?

  5. I love all the images in this one!!

  6. It was strange…I thought of the wheelchair falling, losing control…and in the end there was blood…..I knew that was not what you intended but the images played like that….

    • Hmmm…I think that’s a very individual reaction and not something hidden in my unconscious when I wrote it. It probably relates to something in yours. Thanks.


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