Second Wind: New Paintings – where the title comes from…


Second Wind was the title of a set of illustrations to my poems and songs that my friend Laura Stenhouse made in 1992.

Full story here :

The phenomenon described on wikipedia thus:

Documented experiences of the second wind go back at least 100 years, when it was taken to be a commonly held fact of exercise.The phenomenon has come to be used as a metaphor for continuing on with renewed energy past the point thought to be one’s prime, whether in other sports,  careers, or life in general…..

Here the original poem.


North Berks Champions Long Wittenham F.C. 1960-61
Ivo C. Belcher top row second right

Second Wind

Under guttering stars
and moon lost in clouds
like the only working headlight
on the Co-op delivery van,
emerald bonnet and silver radiator
now passing them,
run five figures.
Left-back, goalie, centre-half,
inside-right, winger.
The ice fogs breath, crackles under studs,
shatters in the white blaze of puddles
as strides pound eastwards
down the tarmac road
known locally as the ‘straight mile’.
My father’s village team out training
February 1956
for a cup match at the weekend.
Hurtling down empty roads
between black fields.
Shouts like stray passes
bouncing off trees and clouds.

The same road ten years later.
A grey Morris Minor hitting sixty.
Door panels shudder and shake
as an unhealthy engine complains.
We’re testing the brakes
We’ve spent all morning repairing.
At least that’s what dad says as we
shoot down the straight mile grinning.
I lean my six-year old face
out the window until my eyes run.
I gulp and gulp in the cold air
Like a pike pulled out of water.
The dust and haze of harvest fields
spins away in the chrome side mirror.

Shouts ring in my ear.
Remember to pace yourself.
Keep a second wind.
If you’re one down
don’t argue
go back and score one against them.

I breathe deeply and thread the words together.
I pull one back.
The net bulges.

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