These poems arose out of our 2009 weekend ride to the Isle of Wight.
The PROLOGUE to the CLARION TALES
WHAN that Aprille with his shoures soote
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
Inspired hath, from Hove to Hayward’s Heath,
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,
And smale fowles maken melodye,
That slepen al the night with open ye,
(So priketh hem nature in hir corages)
Than longen folk to goon on bike rides,
And palmers for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, couthe in sondry londes;
And specially, from every shires ende
Of Brighton, to th’ISLE OF WIGHT they wende,
The holy blisful HOSTEL for to seke,
That hem hath holpen, whan that they were weak.
Bifel that, in that sesoun on a day,
In BRIGHTON at the Station as I lay
Redy to wenden on my cycle ride
To TOTLAND BAY with ful devout corage,
At nine o’clock was come in-to that place
Of rumbling trains, four in a compaignye,
Of sondry folk, by aventure y-falle
In felawshipe, and cyclists were they alle,
That toward TOTLAND BAY wolden ryde;
The platforms and the carriages were wyde,
And wel we weren esed atte beste.
At HOVE three more did join the throng,
And unto TOTLAND BAY wolde come along;
At PORTSMOUTH yet three more enjoyn’d to we,
And we did take the ferry o’er the sea.
From RYDE to NEWPORT did we pedal west,
And tooke our luncheon at the BARGEMAN’S REST.
Then sundry hills and dales we did devour
Untille, when came at last the sunset hour,
By YARMOUTH and FRESHWATER we did pass
And came at last to TOTLAND’s swete repast
Of WIGHT SOUPE, and many a quart of Ale,
So hadde we founde at last our Holy Grail.
By Geoffrey de Raillieur (1340-1400)
Re-discovered by Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club (2009)
Life! the Clarion calls:
Sound of steam, as April cycles
To Spring fellowship.
Joyce’s poem: On being passed by cars on a bike
A distant roaring
Then they’re shudderingly close
Swoosh, and swoosh, and swoosh
They move in small packs
Leaving their farts in the air
To mark their passing
Another one from Fred
A founder member of the Clarion
Was Robin’s friend Maid Marion.
She couldn’t go as far as she intended
Because the bike had not yet been invented.