The Sunday Poem: Barbara Byers... You may fall.

I have fallen so many times...and in so many ways.  Once while riding my bicycle across Kansas, on a windless day with a flat road and no traffic, I rode my bike and trailer right into a deep ditch.  It was one painful fall in a life full of them.  This poem captures all that perfectly. 


Barbara Byers lives in Nob Hill.  She pedals past my house on her way home every day.




You may fall.

If you fall it will be hard.
Brittle arms may lift you to your knees
and you will stand.

When you fall
thunder cracks your bones
invisible bruises bloom
inside swollen knees and shocked wrists.

If you walk away whole,
ache will form your cast.
You will be locked
inside your own slow-motion shell.

You will have to shake yourself by the ears
And promise yourself
not to crash again.

Albuquerque, August 2011




Poetry submissions are welcome.  Email

Views: 217

Comment by Margaret Randall on October 2, 2011 at 8:14am
I so love the line: "ache will form your cast." But really, I love the whole poem.
Comment by Adelita on October 2, 2011 at 9:10am
I'm not much of a cyclist, but I'm a known klutz.  After a very hard fall, simply from walking, I feel this poem!
Comment by Julie Brokken on October 2, 2011 at 9:49am
"your slow motion shell"... great image!  thank you!
Comment by Sandra Vallie on October 2, 2011 at 9:54am

Barbara, thanks for the reminder this morning to look for the grace of the fall. I'm pretty partial to "You will have to shake yourself by the ears" and I enjoy everything. Thank you for the poem.

Comment by Dee Cohen on October 2, 2011 at 11:56am

Hi Barbara, .I like that this poem doesn't spout simple pick yourself up and dust yourself off philosophies. Falling hurts- a lot. It's loud and amazingly personal too. You've captured all that. I love how 'you may fall' works two ways. Chances are it will happen. And you also have permission to do so. Thanks for sharing this. Dee

Comment by Richard V on October 2, 2011 at 4:50pm
lovely, barbara. thank you. talented artist and poet.
Comment by cathyray on October 3, 2011 at 8:27pm

thanks! from some one who is working on not falling so often, a least not physically. truly captured a feeling.


Comment by Ben Moffett on October 4, 2011 at 8:30pm
I've had a bruising bicycle crash about three years ago, and you described it beautifully, especially the after glow and shell game.The only thing I worry about here is the DitchRider's humorous and corny contention that there was once a windless day in Kansas.
Comment by Merimee Moffitt on October 16, 2011 at 9:23am
Hey, I ask, look around me, and receive!  The lesson--look around!  Oh glorious reminder, life so perfect even when crashing, gashing, dashing--thx for the poem--
Comment by Donald E. George on October 16, 2011 at 5:32pm
When I was still working,my department members nicknamed me "Bonco Billy" because I fell out of my desk chair. And it was a good desk chair.One of only two in the department. Our buyer finessed a purchase order for the two chairs passed an acting plant manager. We had lots of laughs over that and the rest of the department had lots of laughs over me being thrown by my chair.


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