Tag Archives: Violence



I’d just crossed to the other side
of the road, at the Zebra crossing.
The beeps had just stopped, when
the sudden sound of impact shattered
the air, like a crack of thunder.

I saw the shock on the faces,
the hands flying to the mouths;
heard the screams of horror.
Then, the rush of the crowd;
the mix of human concern,
human curiosity.

I turned my head, in fear
of what I would see. He lay
beside his bicycle, holding
his head, silent. I knew
that, a moment before,
he had been pedalling
across the Zebra crossing;
unique thoughts and feelings
cocooned in that head.
I knew the sudden, nightmare
sensation, as the car had hit
him; the incredulity, that this
could be happening to him.

Twenty yards ahead
of where he lay, a dented car
pulled to a ragged halt.
People rushed towards it,
fuelled by shock and anger.

I watched, for a few minutes.
I could feel, I could see
the brutal import of it all;
as it once happened to me.

I was walking along a public footpath one day, during Summer last year, when a man on a bicycle rode straight into me.  He was going at pretty much full speed, and the force of the impact completely knocked me over.  I fell on my face, my hands and my ribs, sustaining gashes to my lip and my hands that needed several stitches.  I was lucky not to have broken any ribs, but my ribs and chest were severely bruised, and the bruising took over a month to fade away.  The cyclist was thrown off his bike by the force of the impact, but he jumped to his feet, apparently unscathed, and proceeded to berate me, while I lay prostrate, bleeding onto the pavement.  “This is all your fault!”  he shouted at me “I warned you!”  He then remounted the bike and rode away.  I’m convinced he must have been either drunk or on drugs.

So, when a similar incident happened, a few days ago, in Peterborough town centre, it had a real impact upon me.  This time, however, I wasn’t the victim; it was a cyclist, crossing the road at a Zebra crossing, just behind me, and a car – trying to beat the lights – drove straight into him.  As soon as I got home, I sat down and wrote the above poem, while the incident was still fresh in my mind.


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Angry Girl


Bow-legged, like her bull-terrier,
she patrols along St. Martin’s Street;
glowers at any “foreigners” she meets,
swigs from her can of super-lager.

Her bull-terrier terrifies me;
she terrifies me. Head shaved
at the sides, spikes on top;
her small, shrunken figure,
her fierce face, emanate
hostility, rage.

I come within range of her sight.
The glittering orbs converge, assess,
recognise, accept me. “Alright?”
She tells me about one of her mates:
burgled, place ransacked, hit on the head
by some sort of axe; left for dead.
How is he? “Still in hospital, mate.”

I ask about a man I’ve not seen for a while.
“He’s been dead six months now, mate!”
She aims her right hand at her left arm,
mimes the pumping action of a syringe.
“Too much of that, weren’t it!
I don’t do no drugs; don’t want to, neither”
she fiercely insists. I refrain
from observing the can in her fist.

Hubbub on the street, next morning:
she shouts, swears, howls in misery.
“Have you seen my dog? Someone’s stole him!
Some bastard’s took him!” She sits,
feet in the gutter; accosts every passer-by.
“Have you seen my dog?” wipes
her sleeve across her eyes.

I feel sorry for her; she is desolate.
I steer clear of her, I fear for her fate;
this young woman, seemingly
so filled with hate.

In my last posting, I said that I am currently engaged in writing a series of poems based upon scenes and incidents happening in the flats around me.  “Angry Girl” is the second poem in the series.  It’s based upon an encounter that happened during last summer, but remains vivid in my memory.  I haven’t seen the central character for quite a while, now.  I hope she’s alright, but she’s one of those people who provoke strong reactions, and – as I say in the poem – I fear for her fate. 

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