BICYCLE

written by Philip Hammial

BICYCLE

— Philip Hammial

It's my fifth birthday & I'm sitting on the present that Uncle Stan has just given me, a green Schwinn bicycle. He gives me a push & down I go, down the gentle slope in his back yard in Chicago that becomes a hill, an interminably long hill that, sixty years later, I'm still going down, the bicycle having become rusty & dilapidated but still capable of moving as fast as the wind. Fortunately the doors, front & back, of the houses I'm passing through are open & the corridors unobstructed, the people, my friends & relatives, in the rooms on either side of the corridors going about their business as though I don't exist: Aunt Mary & Uncle John sitting at opposite ends of a long table, John's prayer of thanksgiving going on & on while the roast beef gets cold; Aunt Jane having one of her fits in the kitchen while Uncle Max looks on helplessly; cousin Dan & his new bride, Eleanor, banging away on a hide-away bed while the radio newscaster tells us that Normandy has just been invaded - D-Day. Over a hundred houses & I'm still going, Uncle Stan passing away at the age of ninety-two, the war in Vietnam grinding to a halt, the Berlin wall torn down brick by brick as I roll by on the Schwinn wondering how the hill has managed to descend through seventy-two countries on five continents - a mystery I'll never have time to fathom because there, at what appears to be the bottom of the hill, is an open grave, half a dozen people standing around it as though waiting for a hearse to arrive.

About the poet


Philip Hammial

Philip Roby Hammial (born 1937) is an Australian poet, publisher, editor, artist and art curator. He has a long list of achievements in writing, publishing and sculpting. His achievements include twenty-four collections of poetry, thirty solo sculpture exhibitions and, acting as the director/curator of The Australian Collection of Outsider Art, twenty-six exhibitions of Australian Outsider Art in five countries. Hammial's significance to Australian poetry has been recognised by the Australia Council, which awarded him a Senior Writer’s Fellowship in 1996, an Established Writer’s Fellowship in 2004 and the Nancy Keesing Studio at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris in 2009. Life Hammial (born 1937) grew up in and around Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from Farmington High School in 1954. After three years...

Read Full Biography

Poem of the Day

The British Church

George Herbert

I joy, dear mother, when I view
Thy perfect lineaments, and hue
Both sweet and bright.
Beauty in thee takes up her place,
And dates her letters from thy face,
When she doth write...

Read Full Poem

Poet of the Day

Kaka Hathrasi

Kaka Hathrasi was a noted Hindi satirist and humorist poet of India. His real name was Prabhu Dayal Garg, though he wrote under the pen name Kaka Hathrasi, after his home town Hathras, and published over 42 collections of humorous verse...

Read Full Biography