The Hill

The Hill


The Tour de France would see the hill

Challenged and beaten

As never seen before

For this hill in Verteillac

Made easy work of the amateur hiker

And easier work still

Of an old man with a stick


This hill fair takes the breath away

With most pausing for a rest

Even if only once

Not for the weak of heart

But well worthy of the challenge

As long as it’s known

Defeat is always on the agenda


The Tour de France saw men on bicycles

Adorned in team hues

Of greens and blues and reds

And other colours

From out of nowhere hit its foot

Like a bloody thunderbolt

And in what seemed an instant

Disappeared over the brow

To churn up road ahead


I set about the task one day

Hobbling from the start

There were no crowds to cheer me on

And no bicyclette


Five yards at a time I raced

My legs confined to one gear

My pace slowed by my heart

And the warnings I was given

That I simply brushed away

Would see me climb for Blighty

With no medals earned that day


No fine colours did I sport

I wore a peasant’s hat

Black as I remember

And I was easily lapped over twenty meters

But I swore this hill was mine

Forgetting that the years had took their toll

And I was growing old


My arteries clogged and blocked

With air so hard to breath

I looked a prat

For I had nothing in my hat

Or up my sleeve

And less still in my pot of depleted reserves

With every stop for rest

Followed by a wheeze


I would beat this hill

This bloody, bloody hill

However steep or tough its test

But half way up reality kicked in

As the road opened up to swallow me

Deny me in my quest


And see me now

Gazing at the ceiling killing hours

And waiting for the surgeon to do his best

Whilst hoping that my time had not come yet


For all the grit I’d mustered

There’d be no victory roll

No Tour de France for me

For I was far too old

Just the villager’s reminder

That the hill would beat the best

That I was easy pickings

And my reply of “maybe so

But be sure if it’s the death of me

I’ll die trying…..”



“Joey Joe McGuire”

8th April 2018

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