John Challis

The Learner

Stuck behind a learner when the limit increases
I remember what it’s like to master the instruments,
clutch, gearstick, indicator, wipers, mirrors, lights,

as everyone around you passes expressionless
like the frames of half-built cars shifting down the line
while mechanical limbs twitch missing pieces in.

My arm on the window, at this age it comes easily,
this marriage with machine, brakes know when to slow,
acceleration mans itself when there’s road to drive.

At the roundabout where land opens like a centrefold
that Tynemouth lighthouse searches,
I wait a chevron back for the learner to decide,

the radio full of useless tunes, and watch as the field
becomes conscious with geese taking flight.

Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future. Ray Bradbury, science fiction writer