Return of the Tyke
Return Of The Tyke
Tyke, tyke, tyke' they’d chant to bait the bairn.
But insult hurled at Yorkshire folk is water off a back.
Take it, use it, grind it through the crank
As fuel for the fire, grist to mill.
Man as boy the tyke unwraps his bike.
Ride a mile, another ten. No stopping, pumping into the blood.
Cycle, eat, drink. Eat, drink, cycle.
Life’s biggest problem, darkest mood, cured in the turn of a pedal.
Through God’s own country
A yellow jersey pulls a golden thread.
Up fell down dale, through Yorkshire’s warp and weft,
It’s cruelest contours purled,
A bright new yarn weaves into the fabric of the hills.
Past mill, past gate, past pit-head dead, history’s milestones marked.
The ride is metaphor, the towns tell out my story.
Otley, Ilkley, Asgarth, Hawes.
Mum at factory, Grandma, The Black Bull - still standing.
The first sip of warm beer.
Mallerstang, Fleet Moss, Tan Hill.
Simonstone, that teacher, my Dad, Wensleydale and Granddad Thompson.
The Scar, the Cove, the Stang – part of us in every crevice, crook and corner.
Muker, Reeth, Masham, over cattle-grid, up the switch-back,
Buttertubs - Buttertubs - Buttertubs.
Suck at the air, tramp on the pain, tyres spit rubber, spit grit.
It’s all about the climb. Locked in battle against the gradient.
She’s out to hurt us, here to make us suffer.
In sickening waves her sweet call comes to quit, to quit,
To quit this spiritual ascent.
Up ahead, on the tarmac one by one, the giants of the fells swing into sight.
Robinson ‘55, Hoban ’68, doff your cap to Tommy Simpson
And Beryl Burton, she showed the lads a clean pair of heels.
I close the gap and hear them urge: “We too were once like you.
My own story is forced out,
Spat through bleeding gums and panted breaths it comes
“I’ll catch you, catch you, catch you.”
In Oxenhope and through Cragg Vale
Spirit generations line the streets “Make us proud son, make us
We race by in a flash. As lives lived, as lives past.
When final stage is done and life turns back to dust,
Take us back to the mountain top. Pause a moment as the weather turns,
Then set us free in the teeth of a gale.
I’ll call them on, those that struggle through the sleet and hale, soft and
As I myself, one morning, was called.
© Ben Hodgson 2014