Refreshment Kiosk, Battersea Park, Summer, 1895
A girl can dream.
She can dream all day
while serving teas
and clearing tables
and taking orders
from ladies wilting pleasantly
under shady trees,
their covetable bicycles
propped and resting
after so many circuits round the park.
A girl can dream
of how many miles she’d ride,
out to Richmond and beyond
into countryside and sootless air.
How boundless then her horizons.
So, off you go, ladies,
refreshed, aglow, tootling blithely
to your Mayfair homes.
This girl has to hoof it
up the Junction, weary of limb,
and longing for her very own
freedom machine.
Sandwiched between little sis and big ’un,
a girl can dream of spokes and pedals,
two flashing wheels,
the unstoppable momentum
of her journey out
into the world.
by Hilaire south of the river


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