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This sestina is in honour of the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire in 2014.

Blood, Sweat, Hills (A Sestina)

Profilepicby Paul Welbourn21 Jul 2013

The tour opens on our stage, our terrain.
Each fresh scene to inspire the one who leads
To perform and prove their strength in the field.
City streets and country roads: Today's racetrack.
The all-weather cyclists will have to push
Through heavy cloud, touching hills like wet stone.

Steel built cities to towns carved from stone
Are alloyed with diverse rolling terrain.
A simple descent precedes a pained push
And pull of pedals fixed to legs of lead.
Hands clasped, and strained eyes focus on the track
Coursing through jersey yellow rapeseed fields.

The oiled chain meanders out of the field
Of view. Ants beneath a disturbed stone,
Their speed makes them difficult to track
As they race to return to the sub-terrain.
Only one of these creatures can lead,
Each exhausted ant is propelled and pushed

On by the crowd. Giving them strength to push
Through the pain their minds make muscles feel.
Determined to surge past the race leader,
No time to visit the Heptonstall headstone,
High above the Hebden valley terrain
For a poet who strayed off the beaten track.

A bicycle ballet chases up the track,
Ascending Holme Moss is a demanding push.
Their energy piqued as the high terrain
Carries them high above the patchwork fields,
Following nature's contours past mills of stone
That once housed industries with which we led

The world. This tour of our county will lead
Discussion on features we have which attract
Tourists who admire more than cobblestone
Streets, to escape the claustrophobic push
Of life, and instead to roam in cliff-edge fields,
And waterfalls which carved our rugged terrain.

The cyclists are led through the past and push
Along old rail tracks, and expired coal fields,
Old stone terrains merge into metal and glass.