Poems

Pyrenees

Pyrenees, Pyrenees,
brings a smile to your face, but aches in your knees
The scenery is stunning, the roads smooth and long,
but some of those climbs demand training and strong
They don’t forgive weakness, they inflict punishment and pain
and when you turn corners, it all starts again.
The downhills are better, make you feel like a pro,
but such apprehension, when you look far below.

So now then you must ask, why do it, why go,
when you’re busy at home, you’ve commitments, you owe?
The answer is different, each one has their own
and for some it’s a challenge, to make it alone.
Some do it in memory of loved ones they’ve lost
and for people like that, the effort’s no cost
Some just for the thrill, of doing it their way,
with no phones or e-mails, saying today is my day.

But whatever your reason, why ever you came,
the result for Macmillan is exactly the same.
You gave us your time and your smile and your pain,
so we could help others again and again.
We can help with some info, ease stress
and direct, we can signpost and clear up a personal mess.
We can help with a wig or just listen to a story,
all on the back of your aches and glory.

So thank you dear cyclists, for committing to ride,
helping someone back home, take back some lost pride.
Thank you for helping to help what is here,
it’s urgent sometimes and often it’s fear,
of an awful occurrence, when you just cannot see
and trying not to say why is it me, why just me?
Macmillan can help, but needs help in return
and there you’re our hero, we need your good turn.

So thank you in buckets for all that you do,
for turning those pedals for giving us you
For the training, the funds, for acquiring new bikes,
for dressing in Lycra, for each Facebook like
For being so lovely and sweating up hills,
for putting us first and before your own bills.
Macmillan in Jersey is shouting out loud
that we’re loving you all; you’ve made us so proud.

Brian Frith
July 2016

Bright Yellow Jerseys

Christmas cold Turkey, still on the table,
The subject first broached, would we be able?
Of course, of course, say what you like
You’re never too old, to ride on a bike.

Months then of training, new bikes & new gear,
Ridiculous in Lycra, vitamins, no beer.
Those mountains became hills & then became slopes
& still in St Martin, whilst learning the ropes.

Then came Bonne Nuit, Greve de Lecq & L’Etacq,
Hearts lungs & thighs, all under attack.
It slowly got better, Sunday training was fun.
Forty miles, fifty, now just ‘a run.’

We put clips on our shoes, talked about gears
& delicate subjects, like protecting our rears.
We cycled in France. Did 250 ‘K’s’,
came back feeling pleased; it was only 2 days

And the money it came rolling, in large sums & small.
Jersey does charity, like no others at all.
They dig deep in their pockets with barely a pause
When the aim is for Hospice, such a good cause.

Through the hard work of Richard & Anton (dear boy)
A plague of bright Jersey’s hit on Hanoi,
But we’re not there for long, we’re off to the hills
With creams, helmets, shorts (& malaria pills).

We’re sleeping in huts, the most basic of beds.
Can’t think what hurts most of legs, backs or heads.
But aches are forgotten, when you’re cycling along.
The sounds of this country make a beautiful song.

The people have little, but are kind, with big smiles.
This makes you smile too, as you eat up the miles.
So Greetings to Hospice, we all hold so dear.
It’s because you’re so great, that we’re over here!!

Brian on Travel

Great expectations, nervous anticipation
Days of names forgotten, defined by destination.

Brian on Hills

Hills can cause panic, whichever way they go.
Staying on is paramount, fear of what’s below.
But what a sense of freedom & such a lovely glow,
When you reach the top each time & then return below.

Jersey Hospice Care – Ecuador 2009

If you thought L’Etacq was bad & Bonne Nuit made you groan
Then pondering the Andes, will likely make you moan.

It’s possible you’re not rested; you’ve probably had no sleep
and aching legs and backs and arms will make you want to weep.

It’s doubtful that you’ve bathed that day or even combed your hair
and put your nose beneath your arm – bet you wouldn’t dare!

The profile maps look dreadful, with much more up than downs
And even young, fit cyclists are wearing worried frowns.

You never were a camper, you don’t like cold wet feet
You love the Jersey Summers, but not this sticky heat

And as for creepy crawlies, they’re OK in the zoo,
but not to share a tent with them, what’s one supposed to do?

And will it all get worse and worse and can we climb those hills
4000 metres seems so high, won’t we all get chills?

Your friends all think you’re mad, and though they wished you well
They think it’s not those padded shorts you need – perhaps a padded cell?

They’ll say ‘I really envy you, I wish I’d done this too’,
but seeing relief upon their face, you know it can’t be true.

If truth were told they’ve got a point, what have you gone and done.
Are aching limbs, a red, sore bum, your idea of fun?

But don that yellow Jersey and fears will disappear.
With Hospice blazoned on your back, there’s nothing you need fear

And if there’s just a smallish ache or modicum of pain
Just think on all the plus bits and what you’ve got to gain.

The pride, the joy, achievement, fun but most, you took the dare
To cycle in a far off land, for love of Hospice Care.

August 2009

In memoriam: Cliff Tee-Boon

In my Christmas poem for 2009 I wrote the following in memory of my good mate Cliff Tee-Boon who was terminally ill with cancer. It struck me on the first day in Ecuador that there wasn’t a moment so hard or a hill so steep that Cliff wouldn’t have gladly changed places with me. That was such an inspiration on the hardest of climbs;

Throughout the year I biked the lengths of Ecuador & France,
blessing every single mile I’d got the health & chance
We’ve friends who on the hardest hills would change their lot with mine
and substitute their pain & pills for feeling fit & fine
– Brian – Christmas 2009

Cliff died in January 2010 and is sadly missed but so admired for a life well lived. He would say with a smile ‘You’ve got to frighten yourself every so often’. I think he was referring in part to docking his newly bought boat in a Force 6 whilst Jayne sat on the rails and chatted to the neighbouring boats as all hell was breaking loose!

South Africa 2011

Hey Jersey grab your jersey’s, let’s make the rainbow nation
A mountain bike, a cycle hat, create your own sensation
Let’s spin the miles & climb the hills for Jersey Hospice Care
and bomb the downhill sections, you thought you’d never dare

It’s all about the being there & making your own highs
Despite the heat, despite the wind, despite the aching thighs
We’ve all our special reasons for challenges we share,
but central to it all, is Jersey Hospice Care.

The work they do is vital, the help they give unique
A thought that helps when looking for, a never ending peak
We’ll all take home our great memories of moments of extreme
From desperate day end finishes to loving Assos cream.

We’ll all have made new friendships, just think of John & Phil
Who dared to breath those magic words “Oh I will if you will”
How fortunate we’re able, to make a trip like this
How many when we get back home will say, “what did I miss?”

Those who thought the routes weren’t long, with not sufficient pain,
can see our logs & pain etched pics & maybe think again.
So when we’re all in cycling heaven, enjoying God’s creations
Let’s hope he gets it right next time, with kinder undulations *

November 2011
* a term used on this trip for any hill, regardless of length or steepness

La Bella Vita Su Due Ruote

La Bella Vita waits for you (but only when you’ve done)
and by that time your legs will ache, you’ll have a battered bum.
But hopefully you’ll have had some fun and dealt with any fears,
of climbing great big mountains and grinding endless gears.

Whatever makes us do these things, when life’s so busy too?
When monies scarce, you’ve family and little time to do
the very basic things each day, the work, the study, home
and here you are on mountain tops and far from laptops, phones.

It’s ‘cos you’ve got a vision, of how things ought to be,
for those whose lives are hurting, they need someone to see,
a someone who supports them, in their hour of need
and your pain then converts into a blessed deed indeed!

So thanks for doing what you’ve done and thanks for being so kind.
Without the hours you’ve given, we don’t know where we’d find,
the funds for our new Centre, to be the best there is.
You’ll help us all do so much more, it really is the biz!!

I promise on the hardest climb and in your lowest gear,
you’ll think of those you’re helping and what it is they fear
and if what YOU are doing, can help to ease their pain,
I bet you’d go back to the start and do it all again.

Thanks a lot everyone and have a wonderful, safe ride

Brian Frith
Chairman
Macmillan Cancer Support Jersey
Sept 2014

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