He learned to ride a bike
with no hands to guide him,
no training wheels, or strong arms,
to catch him when he fell.
His only teachers were the biting gravel
and the laughing tree by the driveway.
When he would fall
the gravel screamed, "Don't do that!"
and he could hear, "Try again,"
come whispering from the tree.
When he did succeed
with timing and with balance,
the friendly tree congratulated him
with open arms, a rough kiss,
and a bit of advice:
"Now practice your steering, please."
This is actually one of my favorite poems from college. The professor (Bill Holm) walked into class a little late one night and said "You have seven minutes to write a poem with the word 'tree' in it. Begin now." He looked at his watch, then sat down. This poem is what poured out.