York Olympic Torch Relay Twitter Poems: The Build-Up

Posted on 27 June 2012 | Poem

York Olympic Torch Relay Twitter Poems: The Build-Up

Coney Street

Ribbons of flourescent yellow line the streets, highlight the path of gold

8000 circles decorate the torch for the 8000 bearers who tread the streets including York

Tadcaster Road

It’s come a long way already,
from Western coasts and sea,
beside Northern loch, hill and mere.

From Scarborough and Whitby,
Pickering and Selby,
it’s coming to York today.
And passing our way!

Maps have been created,
Roads diverted.
Cones wait in line.
It’s almost time.
All we need is a sunny day!

Planes droning,
Helicopters circling,
Security or Media?

Signs warning of closures
But traffic still flowing.
Loud speakers echoing:
An atmosphere of waiting…

Lendal Bridge

Bobby’s bowler hats amuse this displaced amerikan.

Lendal pavement crowded now, an hour before. People manoeuvre to maintain their patch of land. Crowd three deep an hour before Torch breaches Micklegate and runs the wall.

Buses push past, last cars, bikes woosh by. Backpacker asks: what time? but train leaves ten minutes before torch due. She shrugs, trudges off to station. A choir strikes up, old men, gold trimmed jackets, applause.

Townies turned tourists to take in Torch and see summer arrive.

More buses! More cars! More bikes streak by.

Bankstermobile rehabs Lloyds’ rep, bouncing gaily over Lendal Bridge. More crowds! More Samsung blue balloon torches.

When do cars stop, traffic ceases? When can I safely step from kerb?

Coney Street

An hour to wait for that passing flicker. Keep it burning till it reaches excited faces and shuffling feet

Crowds are cornering Coney and children wave red white and blue. Grab your own inflatable torch and tread the streets too

‘Road closed’ sign heaved. Everyone stills. Police car. False alarm. Bustle ensues

Wide yawns and folded arms fill the street as a breeze twists round Spurriergate. We wait.

Bobbing children and pacing bobbys on Coney Street tonight

Tadcaster Road

Outside Tesco
Bunting is flying from rails and posts.
People are collecting on verges.
Children in prams are clutching flags.

Hospice staff have brought garden chairs.
Patients smile, one with a drip on a stand.

At the College
Cyclists are massing,
All in red.
A student passes with union jack legs.

“A once in a lifetime chance,” a voice says.
“That’s what I thought,” her neighbour agrees.

Children cheer into a microphone.
They wave their flags for the radio.
Policemen in yellow tabards smile.

Watchers peer, police prepare,
Traffic stops, people chatter.
In the distance blue lights flash.
The first outriders appear.

Tadcaster Rd is unusually still.
When will the torch arrive?

Lendal Bridge

German lady tugs sleeve, enquires: Trains to Manchester—often? Yes! All right then! she shouts. We jump and cheer, schoolgirls.

Unlike ‘82’s respectful hush, we’re urged to “make some noise!” to holler in the Torch. Hmmm.

Floats drift by: Samsung. Coke. Lloyds.

Crowd congeals, parts, reforms, snares space, forgets the queue. Manners fail in quest for view.


Parents herd their little ones, caring only
That they can see.
What is it their young minds will remember?

Faces of all races line the barricades
Reminding us that the races to come
Are meant to make us one

Coney Street

Kids shoved to the front, thrust through throngs of people. Like Disneyland. ‘Go on go on’ parents scream

Blue pom poms, free Coke, the colour of money flash past. Music blares, and folk trying to cross get shouted back into the crowds

- Vicki Bartram, Rose Drew, Alan Gillott, Pauline Kirk and Tanya Nightingale