The Grim Reaper is following you


A notification once came through

Said, “The Grim Reaper is following you.”

I suspected but now I know it’s true.

He’s behind.


So what should an elderly poet do?

It’s hard when you hear he’s following you.

I’m not quitting yet. There’s so much to do.

‘Out my mind!’


I’m running hard; my toughest race yet.

Death’s on my tail; won’t let me forget.

I’ve built a good lead. He won’t catch me yet.

Grim Reaper.


I can’t run for ever; my pace has to drop;

I know he’ll be on me the moment I stop.

I’ll stay fit and healthy, ahead and on top.

Dig deeper.


Forget it Grim Reaper stay well behind

Stay out of my head, don’t mess with my mind.

You may be behind me; I won’t despair.

You can try hard to catch me; 

You’ll be clutching at air.


Wibble Wobble Legs

Runner stops to help rival metres from the finish line. Sun photo from 2017 London Marathon.

Wibble Wobble Legs was inspired by a story from last year’s London Marathon and is dedicated to everyone running tomorrow.


When you’re wibble wobble legged with the finish line in sight

And you’ve only got to get from here to there.

If your legs won’t stand the test, though you really do your best

That’s when you need another runner there.


I could not leave you there, there was not too far to go

And the effort that you’d put in really showed.

You were wibble wobble legged but you did not want to rest

So determined you would get there; make that line.


I told you to go on, for the time was marching on

You were on for sub three hours and losing time.

But you wouldn’t leave me there, took my arm and gave a steer

Stopped to help me, damn the time, let’s make the line.


You were wibble wobble legged and could barely do a step

But I wasn’t going to leave you, not so near.

Spectators looked appalled but when I stopped

They’d all applaud.

We’ll do this thing together, make that line.


When a runner hits the wall, then there’s nothing there at all

But I didn’t mean to stop I would press on.

I said to leave me there; just carry on.

There were rival runners passing

You were losing time and placing

To sacrifice your own run really wasn’t fair.

But my legs were just like jelly

And although I’d got there nearly

Those last few yards were just too far to go.


I knew what you’d put in, 

All the hours and miles you’d done

And I couldn’t leave you there, that near the line.

The race already won, one victor and one crown

But there’s still a human race that must be run.

There are medics with a chair, 

They’ll  haul you off if you’re left there

So I’ll help you carry on and get you to the line.

For now that’s the only thing on my mind.


Even when a Marshall came and took my other arm

You wouldn’t go but stuck there just the same.

Though I didn’t know your name, you helped me all the same

You took my arm and got me to the line.

You forgot about the clock, you just took my arm and stopped

But we both beat three hours and there’s no shame.

With the race already won, one victor and one crown.

There’s still a human race that must be run.

Bournemouth Bay Run 10k


Bournemouth Bay Run; up, off early

Round the bay in Dorset sun.

Soon shake off the chill of morning

Warm up jog beside the pier.

Tightly gathered in the start pen

All the runners, all their gear.

Who are athletes, who are jokers?

Whose not sure they should be here?

Hooter sounds, meant to start us

Shuffle forward to the line.

Feel familiar start frustration.

Crush can’t run, get into stride.

Happy smiling girls in tutus

Oblivious to the crush of runners

Bursting to run but stuck behind.

Picks up slowly, gaps to nip through.

Mustn’t now panic go too fast.

Promenade run, past the beach huts

Field of runners fanning out.

Room to pass and pick up stride now

Pick up stride you can get past.

Numbers on the watch look better

Not too fast the proper pace.

Sea and shore stretch out before us

Beach beside us, cliffs above.

Set the sights on distant Boscombe

First stage run from pier to pier.

Up the zig, zag slightly later

Must save something for the climb.

Coming now. We can’t let up here.

Take it easy, make the top.

Breath comes hard, legs won’t go here

Briefly fall into a walk.

Curse ourselves and stumble onward

Gasping when we reach the top.

Take deep breaths, get some air in

Move those legs now getting stiff.

Coming back, the shore below us

Running on the overcliff

Half the race is now behind us

Found a pace, don’t let it drop.

Wish you’d done a few more long runs

You’ll slow down, your pace tail off.

Along the top, bright Dorset sunshine

Negotiate the parking bays.

Says to run along the pavement

We don’t want no extra yards.

Look out for our friends, relations

Extra cheers, a special wave.

Soon enough the route is downhill.

Run loose, try to use the gradient

Pick it up and pass a few.

Was the effort much too early?

Still a decent way to go.

More deep breaths, keep it going.

Legs are heavy, pace feels slow.

Now it’s Bournemouth’s pier we head for.

Still a mile or two to go.

Just hang in there, keep it going.

You’ve got the distance, know you’ll finish,

Must make this respectable.

Where exactly is the finish?

Just how far is still to go?

Have to make one final effort

Though the legs are heavy, stiff.

One last push towards the finish.

There it is, that must be it.

One last bit and all be over.

No point holding anything back.

Push yourself that last bit harder

Find there’s really not much there.

Push yourself across the finish.

Check the watch. I guess OK.

Have to train that wee bit harder

For a smile to cross my face.

Through the funnel with the others

Shuffle forward, old routine.

Timing chips and then the medals

Another for the back of drawer.

Goodie bag, another T Shirt.

Head for home, sun still shining

Shower, then more of Dorset day.