Unipoetry in motion

In unicycling I am almost level 3, but in poetry I’m still working on the graceful dismount.

OK, so I helped my son learn to ride a year ago and here is a celebratory rip-off ballad in his honor:


By Russ Garton (with apologies to Hank Longfellow)

Listen, my children and it shall be said
Of the unicycle ride of Stephen Fred,
On the seventh of May, in double ought five:
The witnesses are well and alive
With memories of that day in their head.

He said to his dad, “If I pass the tape mark
On the concrete floor of the garage to-night,
Nothing stops me, except where the car’s parked
By the street, right in my line of flight.
One on my hand, and two on my knee
Are fresh cuts and scabs for all to see;
Not to mention the bruise on my arm
And ankle contusions that cause mom alarm,
Acting as if I had just bought the farm.”

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
In skate boarder shoes, with a heavy stride,
On the concrete floor walked Stephen Fred.
Now he rubbed his aching back-side,
Now gazed on the garage walls back and ahead,
Then impetuous stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his seat post-girth;
And lo! As he checks on the unicycles height,
A glimmer, and then a gleam in his eye!
He springs to the saddle, the pedals he turns,
Balances, leans forward, gives it his best try;
A second and then the handhold he spurns!

A scurry of wheel, a blur of his feet,
A streak through the shadows, this day of the week,
And beneath from the pedals, in passing, a squeak
Let out by a steed that rolls fearless and fleet:
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
A ten year old boy was riding that night;
And the squeak let out by that steed, in its flight,
Strengthens his resolve to stay in the seat.

He has left the garage and heads for the street,
And before him, pebbly and broad and steep,
Is the driveway, meeting the cul-de-sac sides;
And past the landscaping that skirts its edge,
Now wobbly on the sidewalk, now to the curb ledge,
Is seen the sway of his hips as he rides.

It was six by my dashboard clock,
When he crossed the drive onto 99th Place.
He heard kids playing down the block,
And also the sound of tire on ground,
And reveled in balance he now had found,
A look of victory upon his face.

You don’t know the whole, so let it be told
How Stephen had taken a vow not to fold.
Repeatedly starting from the garage wall
To suffer an almost immediate fall.
Picking himself up and, despite the pain,
Crossing the floor to try it once again;
Tape on the floor to show his longest ride.
Not quitting – determined to take it outside.

So out the garage rode Stephen Fred;
And so down the block went his deafening cheer -
A shout of triumph and not of fear -
Loud enough to startle the dead.
A voice in the twilight, a blur past the door,
And a kid who will pedal forevermore!
Balanced on one tire, not on a bike,
Many folks have never seen the like.
In the hour of naptime and quiet and peace,
The neighbors will waken and listen instead
To the whirling wheel that will not cease,
And the hearty hurrah of Stephen Fred.

u must be proud (o:

It took almost 100 years after the original ride to write the poem. Very fitting it takes over 100 years for a proper re-write.

Well done.

love it!

and well done to stephen fred too.

thats an awesome avatar by the way, did you make it yourself?