Time, speed, distance

(a response to Michael Rosen)

There – in the low drone,
the high mosquito moan
of the trickling voices
– something catches me,

drags me from my windowed
daydream, pictureframed
in the skyblue, eyeblue
wasting day outside.

“Speed equals distance over time.”
Overtime. Distance. Speed equals.
Springs ease, levers click,
oiled gears begin to move.

Take time. Time takes ages,
giving each a different pace:
when young it dragged its feet;
now old, it sprints to end the race.

Then distance, that deceiver,
makes a mile seem very easy;
the last five steps before the bus
moves off become another mile.

And speed’s subjective,
feelings wrapped in risk:
sedate at fifty in a car;
at thirty, thrilling on a horse.

But all three came together
on the jetty where we jumped:
the inches to the edge, an age;
the speeding feet we fell, a moment.

Raindrops scatter on the glass,
spattered ink-blots mark the page:
they spread across the emptiness
as dreams escape the cage.

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