the person in the back controls the speed

in tandem

Here’s a poem I wrote about thirty years ago:

 

In Tandem

The fact is: when you ride in front, you steer.

The person in the back controls the speed.

The pedals go as quickly as they need

to keep one’s partner accurate with fear.

A panic on the handlebars will clear

confusion as to who will take the lead.

The person who relinquishes is freed

to stabilize the pair, and mere

agreement brings a rush of calm and peace

as widely round the corners they can glide,

adjusting speed and vision with each turn.

Exhilaration, energy, release

accompany their willingness to ride;

reward them with the pace for which they yearn.

 

Anne Higgins     published in  At the Year’s Elbow, 2000

bicycle built for two

 

 

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