Saturday, February 24, 2018

Learning to ride

Not long after my complaints
about the long walk to school

how everyone had one
so why couldn't I

you came home one night
with a two-wheeler bike -

a Monarch (boy's, second-hand)
front handbrake, rear pedal -

no bell, chain-guard or gears.
You bought it, no doubt

off a 'for sale' ad in the local rag
painted it fire-engine red

showed me how to use the pump
oil the chain, crank and hubs

told me to level the pedals
before I stood on one

straddled the cross bar
sat on the black saddle seat

while you palmed my back
steadied the handle bars

said to push with my feet -
one then the other - coaxed me

to steer straight, keep upright
as we practised setting off.

When I came a cropper
skinned my arms or knees

you painted them orange
set me up for another go

until I was able to wobble solo
up and down life's street.

If only that were so.

This is another boyhood memoir poem from No One Home (which went to the printers late last week, so birth is imminent). I will keep you up to date with when the book is available and when and where it will be launched.

I previously posted on this blog versions of two other poems which are in the collection. They are Three Memoir Haiku and Sticks, trees.

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