Rollerblading at Night

Have you ever felt your whole world melt
     Underneath your feet?
Were you ever seared with deathly fear
     Before each hill and street?

Oh woe it is when friction bids
     Farewell to dainty shoe.
Then every slope's a desperate hope
     Fair safety to renew.

When moody night, in age-old spite,
     Transmutes familiar grounds,
The sidewalks grim, 'neath lamplight dim,
     Engender panicked sounds.

What once by shoe was right and true,
     A casual, painless jaunt
Becomes by skate, a fearful fate,
     The novice heart to daunt.

The hard concrete beneath my feet
     Can scrape and scratch and maim.
Oh verdant grass, you've saved my ass
     More oft' than I could name.

And I am glad for all the pads
     Around my wrists and knees
Which well prevent the cold cement
     From grinding them to cheese.

But still I fear, for my skin dear;
     I still can't use my brake!
So till that day, a gentler way
     Will this wise coward take.

George Chadderdon © 1994