When I was thinking about what to write for Donna for the Summer Poem Swap, I knew I'd write something that rhymed, and I wanted to write about motorcycles since she is a dedicated rider. I don't know anything about motorcycles, though, so I looked into them and discovered that Doug Domokos (aka The Wheelie King) had a record for doing a wheelie for 145 miles. Which is mindblowing, but didn't turn itself into a poem (wouldn't that be a fun concrete poem?!).
I kept going and read about despatch riders, motorcyclists who volunteered in World War I to bring messages from the military units to headquarters (and vice versa). That caught my attention and the next thing I knew, I was talking about pigeons:
Missive from a Working Motorcycle, 1917
by Tabatha Yeatts
My wheels in mud don't trouble me,
Nor driving dark so no one sees,
Nor endless work, nor blood and dirt–
I say with all due modesty,
My motto is semper gutsy.
Ferrying wounded I prefer,
Or bringing leaders vital word
Or munitions for special missions...
Instead I have this task absurd–
My side is loaded down with birds.
My poor seat is feather-adorned,
Coos wake me in the early morn,
The scat I wear– too much to bear–
Still the communiqués they carry
Make me a noble aviary.
More pigeon photos from World War One, just because they were such amazing creatures:
A message-carrying pigeon being released from a port-hole in the side of a British tank, near Albert, France.
photo by David McLellan
The Royal Navy on the Home Front, 1914-1918
Pilot releasing a homing pigeon from a British seaplane
photo by Royal Navy official photographer
The most famous homing pigeon from World War I was Cher Ami, who saved nearly two hundred lives despite being severely injured.
Carol's Corner has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Carol!