Beneath the trees I lounged at ease And watched them speed the pace; They swerved and swung, they clutched and clung, They leapt in roaring chase; The crowd was thrilled, a chap was killed: It was a splendid race.
Two men, they say, went West that day, But I knew only one; Geranium-red his blood was spread And blazoned in the sun; A lighting crash . . . Lo! in a flash His racing days were done.
I did not see - such sights to me Appallingly are grim; But for a girl of sunny curl I would not mention him, That English lad with grin so glad, And racing togs so trim.
His motor bike was painted like A postal box of ed. 'Twas gay to view . . . "We bought it new," A voice beside me said. "Our little bit we blew on it The day that we were wed.
"We took a chance: through sunny France We flashed with flaunting power. With happy smiles a hundred miles Or more we made an hour. Like flame we hurled into a world A-foam with fruit and flower.
"Our means were small; we risked them all This famous race to win, So we can take a shop and make Our bread - one must begin. We're not afraid; Jack has his trade: He's bright as brassy pin.
"Hark! Here they come; uphill they hum; My lad has second place; They swing, they roar, they pass once more, Now Jack sprints up the pace. They're whizzing past . . . At last, at last He leads - he'll win the race.
Another round . . . They leap, they bound, But - where O where is he?" And then the girl with sunny curl Turned chalk-faced unto me, Within her eyes a wild surmise It was not good to see.
They say like thunder-bold he crashed Into a wall of stone; To bloody muck his face was mashed, He died without a moan; In borrowed black the girl went back To London Town alone.
Beneath the trees I longed at ease And saw them pep the pace; They swerved and swung, they clutched and clung And roaring was the chase: Two men, they say, were croaked that day - It was a glorious race.