Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Upturned Bike


I was eight years old.
Old enough to imagine
But not old enough to know.
'The Prime Minister is about to 
Address the Nation'.
I knew what this would mean.
The bombs would start to fall.
 The Germans would march
Up Connaught Road.
I would die.
My parents sat huddled
Over the radio.
I fled.
The garden shed 
Would be my place of safety.
I ran to it,
Slammed and locked the door.
And waited,
My heart juddering in my chest.
What would happen next?
The minutes dragged on.
My father 's bicycle lay 
Up-ended in the middle of the shed.
He had been repairing a puncture.
I began to spin the wheel.
No gentle spinning this .
I batted my hand against the rubber
Over and over.
The wheel whirred
Under my hysterical fingers.
I hear it now.
I awaited the worst.
I hardly heard my father's gentle tap
On the shed door.
'Everything's all right'.
And it was.
I was not a little Jewess
Destined for the gas-chambers.
Millions were to die.
Seventy years later
I bask in the sunshine
Surrounded by family.
I remember you
Ann Frank.
And the bicycle.

The next episode here:


Quilly said...

Some of us know how lucky we are. Others of us have no clue. I am thankful to be among the blessed.

Anonymous said...

Pretty powerful, Brenda. And I've seen the photos took by one of the liberators (wondering if he's still round )...

Angie said...

A bit younger than you I still felt the tension as we all waited for the first alarm. I am reading 'Forbidden Places' by Penny Vincenzi & have just got to page 232 - Spring - Summer 1941.

Kat said...

Read with respect the lines

The wheel whirred
Under my hysterical fingers.
I hear it now.
Could understand the child's fear.

Was from the first line reminded about Ann Frank and you concluded there.

I had skimmed through her diary.... eyes did become moist.

Thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

Wow. And again- wow!

I could see and hear it, just as you wrote it.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for giving us this glimpse.

Tom said...

that's sweet, i'm glad to remember, and give thanks.

I loved spinning my bike wheels as well..just for fun.

Brian Miller said...

oh wow...a very vivid and real memory...

Me said...

Wow, powerful!
I *love* the lines:
"Old enough to imagine
But not old enough to know."

Thanks for sharing this.

Jingle said...

very sense making and animated image your words create!

RLM Cooper said...

Oh my goodness. I'm SO glad I stopped by. This was a powerful and heartfelt piece with real punch.

PattiKen said...

Wow. This was incredible. You took me into that shed with you to await the worst. What a powerful memory.

Ed & Jeanne said...

You captured the feeling perfectly. Well done...

Kris McCracken said...

I remember that.

moondustwriter said...

I'm in the shed too waiting for the bombs to drop or to hear the click of the heels.

thanks you for the powerful TT

see you in the "Pink"