Two Poems

by Michael Yaworsky

Bicycler’s Lament

There’s a bike path In my neighborhood that runs along the Genesee River. Because it’s paved and has some nice straightaways, it’s ideal for getting up speed and flying like the wind, especially on the downgrades — provided there’s no one there blocking your way.  

One fine day as I was zipping along this trail, happy as a clam and thoroughly enjoying my ride home from work, a pedestrian appeared out of nowhere, monopolizing the path and requiring me to slow down to an exasperating crawl. As annoying as this is under any circumstances (and yes, I do acknowledge that pedestrians, including pokey ones, have as much right to the trail as I do), it’s particularly frustrating when it happens just as I’m coming to one of those stretches just made for coasting. I mean, if someone’s going to bring me to a virtual halt why can’t it be when I’m already going slowly, like laboring up a hill or braking for a sharp curve? You see, I had just gotten my first truly good bike and I relished the effortless acceleration brought about by the action of gravity on welllubricated, large radius wheels over a decline in elevation, and it was frustrating not to be able to get the full effect because some Clueless Clem chose that moment to saunter lazily up the middle of the path.

Anyway there I’d been, picking up speed, wind in my hair (as much as possible through those little helmet holes), happy as the aforementioned clam, when the aforementioned guy materialized out of the aforementioned nowhere, with his head (not aforementioned, but I figured you’d assume he had one) down so he couldn’t see me, and wearing headphones (also not aforementioned, but hey) so he couldn’t hear either.

Dude, I thought, don’t do this! Don’t break my glide! I’d paid my dues stopping for street crossings and sidewalks and now it was time for the payoff: a carefree coast down a long, unobstructed stretch, reveling in the speed and watching the river flow by.

But he apparently didn’t share my vision.

Or any vision.

I tried telepathy:  Come on come on come on come on  /  look up look up look up look up –but that didn’t work. (It never does.) If he didn’t hurry up and slide over there wouldn’t be room for me to shoot past him and I would once again miss out on the sublime pleasure of the glide. But he didn’t… and there wasn’t… so, yeah, I missed out.

Aw, man! I whined (out loud? I don’t remember, but probably), why’d you have to break my glide?!

I got home and vented by writing this tirade lament.

Bicycler’s Lament       


So I’m out for a ride, hitting my stride
when here you come, preoccupied
and even though the trail is wide                                                                                                                 
you won’t slide over to the other side.
Just won’t scootch over. What is it, pride? 
Or has your shoelace come untied?
Hey, it’s not like it’d be JekyllandHyde
to let speed and safety coincide.
So I’m asking you dude, don’t break my glide.      

I could hog the middle if I decide
and threaten to make us both collide.
But the very idea has my nerves all fried;
playing chicken would be suicide,
a thought that has me petrified,
out of my wits I must confide,
more worried than a nervous bride.                                                                                                                            
Oh yeah, that fear is bona fide.
So come on Clyde, don’t break my glide.

When I saw you there I could have cried
to see my lane had been shanghaied.
My frustration was only amplified
by the fact that as you came astride
we both could fit – can’t be denied –
and all’d be neatly rectified
if reason had only been applied.

But with no referee to “call offside”
you were all but sure to break my glide.

Should I shout at you? Say something snide?
Or stare and leave it all implied?
No, my resolve is firm, solidified,       
to show good form and not deride.
Surely I’d be mortified
if I acted so undignified.
So I will not mock, I will not chide.
But won’t you let common sense preside,                                                                                   
get off the schneid, and not break my glide?

Now the thing is cut and dried:
you’ve pushed me to the pathwayside.
Not the prime location I’d
prefer to be, and cramped beside.
Frustration comes where these things reside,
a vexation that I can’t abide.
Couldn’t the standard be your guide
to stay on your side of the great divide?
But noooo, you had to break my glide. 

Okay, it’s now been verified:
you broke my heart. Are you satisfied?
Wherefore, how come, and why oh why’d
you use me so? I’m stupefied!
It’s like you never even tried!
The coast was clear ’til you were spied.
I was optimistic, misty-eyed,
on a roll – but you turned the tide.
Yes, though promising, the dream has died.
Gosh darn your confounded hide:
why’d you have to break my glide?!

Utterances, In the Nature of Vespers, Whispered to an Infant, Cribside

all the grains of sand on all the strands and beaches

              in the great vast boundless world

all the rocks on seashores and every briny wave

              that o’er them has ever drenched and swirled

all the blades of grass, leaf and needle of every tree, branch,

              stem or twig that ever grew 


every infant born since time began, and all their precious toes and fingers

              God or angels ever knew

the pits and facets on the flinty granite face of every peak

              and towering mountain mass

every proton, neutron, and electron infusing every creature that dwells

              in forest grove or prairie grass

each drop of rain, every fog, hurricane, storm and spray

              dousing the tempestuous seas the world over

all the shapes and shadows ever a curious eye did spy

              and seek in wonder to discover

every tender gaze mothers have their infants given

              each fatherly caress bestowed in love     


every musing entertained when finding shapes in billowing clouds

              or straining to count the pinprick stars above

every chirp, cry, utterance, sound or note that any melodious bird

              has lifted up in song

all the breaths breathed in and out by every beast from time’s beginning

              all the eons long

these, the reckonings and reveries I whisper as I watch you sleep

              and which tonight and every night I’ll say again

these preposterously puny words I draw upon to convey the vastness

              of my feelings for you, are all in vain

I despair of there being things enough in all the universe

              to tell

how much I love you, and all the things about you

              and how well

the sum of nanoseconds since time began, squared and trebled

              ten billion trillion times and then again

come not close to approaching a suggestion of a fraction of the sum

              at which I feel I must begin

                          ….and so I start anew:

all the grains of sand on all the beaches

              in the great vast boundless world

and all the rocks on seashores and every briny wave

              that o’er them has ever drenched and swirled…

Michael Yaworsky is a retired attorney and legal editor. He and his family live in Rochester’s 19th Ward neighborhood.