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The Grim Reapers Bicycle


“Name of Picture” by John R. is licensed under CC BY 2.0



I saw a man talk to death today.

I didn’t know if they parted company,

or became stead fast friends.

I saw a woman from her bike

pass something to the medic,

not overtly concerned

at her rock still companion,

his chest compressed, his temple bloodied.

Perhaps her friends

shock and awe,

were distracting her from the situation.

I noticed no breath.

We do not breathe in

conversation with the grim reaper.


I didn’t stop. I just stuck out an arm

to signal possible assassins

I was indeed going to overtake

the fire truck directly in my path,

where Death had just minutes previously,

laughingly, shouldered his victim

to the road so that they could talk.

I don’t want to chat with death,

he plays unfairly.

So I pedalled on my way

hoping he didn’t want me

to join the party,

aware that my flesh and bone

are a useless shield against the road.

I hoped the prone one managed

to shut death up

and come back from the light

but by the look on his face,

I feared he was already

seduced before I even passed.

So why did I continue

to ride in paradise

where Death and his cousins

wait on every bend and straight

to strike up a conversation ?



Later as I returned by the way,

I saw the prone one wearing the shroud,

Death had woven his magic

and seduced him to the other side.

The female companion comforted

by a passing by stranger

looked at me as I rode past,

her eyes cut me to my heart.

So I hung my head in shame.

I rode on home to my son,

repeating there was nothing I could do.

Perhaps I could have imparted

a word or touch?

For I can be so in human

to another’s  time of need.


Grateful back on my saddle

Freewheeling down the hill.

Escaping death behind me

For once my day is sober.

A month or so ago

I would have fixed myself up with a shot.

I give thanks to my higher power

Wondering who has cheated who

As I bid the grim reaper farewell.


About Colm MaGuire

Ever since he held up his English class at age 14, to find out from the teacher, how to become a writer, Colm has been toying with writing. Now middle aged and sober he is a writer of poems, songs, short stories, film scripts and novels. Having studied communication in DCU, Script writing the NYU, and Film Production with DIT, he eventually gave it all up to pursue a career in IT – because he thought he had to. He has finally learned that one of the paths to sobriety is being true to oneself. Colm is in recovery since October 1st 2013. He spends most of his time photographing and writing as much as he can and says his lucky number is 13. His website www.colmwordart.com deals mainly with his lyric writing, and links to a Facebook page of the same nature.

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  1. Wow. This poem has so much in it. I can feel the freedom of leaving death behind.

  2. Loved it! Definitely had me wondering which way it would turn…

    We do not breathe in conversation with the grim reaper., that was very profound to me …

    Thank you for sharing your talent!!!!

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