Poems by
Shreekumar Varma

Art of Cycling

a poem by Shreekumar Varma

The red new bike, barely smaller than his eight year-old frame
totters in a straining arc of steel and young thigh,
the quick of possession has already settled to drudgery and fear,
and his rolling screams are repeating a pattern.
I can close my eyes and doodle away those days of sentiment
like fluorescent on virgin canvas.

My dreams are squeezed out in futile doses
let me pause and guide him on his way
and pat him for his speed, encourage him to take the curves
explain afresh the pleasures of dangerous riding
to race the steeps and dare the climb abetted by the wind.
There’s no life in cruising, son, your father’s hopes are done.
Let’s tell them no, the rules of championship aren’t weakened yet:
on a summer’s day, there’s much to be said for a marathon.