The Unicyclist

Kind are late shadows after summer rain as Joan and Barbara storm the misty lane, riding their bicycles in a bold display: emperors are not more confident than they nor wings more swift. Our bikers pass the row, impatient now to meet that boy they know. Light streams across the way, ah who rides there? Elaine of Astolat was not more fair nor queens more brave. Who rides on one lone wheel, erect and golden-haired? Her eyes conceal resistless will to hold her wheel on course, untroubled by the friends who might endorse newer and safer ways to explore the lane. Kind sunbeams linger: these and love remain. COMMENTS: In my poem, I wish to show a difference between the average young girls in a suburban neighborhood and a rather unusual little girl (whom I shall call Mary) who has acquired the skill to ride a unicycle. The latter has no need to ``show off'' and no intention of doing so.

Mary is a child whom it has been my privilege to observe over a number of years. She is about 12 years old as she appears in the poem. As a little girl, she had problems in school because she was left-handed. Her teachers were not very patient or understanding, and the child often came home in tears. Fortunately, the parents gave her their love and full support. In time the little pupil had caught up in her classes, and, although she still has a little difficulty in reading, all indications are that she will succeed.

Mary is an attractive, intelligent, fun-loving, and unassuming child, and has shown unusual mechanical skill. She swims, skates, and skis, and possesses a high degree of courage. I saw her ride the unicycle only once. She would not permit me to take her picture! But the image of the brave little girl expertly riding that impossible vehicle - the mild blue eyes, the streaming red-gold hair - will live on in my memory. The poem is the result. The last line of the poem is intended partly as a prayer: ``Kind sunbeams linger: these and love remain.''

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