It wasnīt easy to walk that fence.
Some of the rails were set their split
Faces up, or with a ridge
And two sloped sides on which to balance.
Though only three rails high, every
Rail was different: one or two
Were rotten, and simply broke, leaving
A step down; some werenīt seated
In their posts and slipped or turned
To throw me off; a few were warped
Or bent, and some were flat and strong.

I fell a lot until I learned
The tricks it took to walk each one.
I got to know each twist and step
And warp and bend and skew
By falling off of nearly every rail
Before I finally made it, walking
Straight down that zigzag path.
Then once I knew the way, I tried
For grace, and then for speed. And then
I nearly ruined everything.

I took my mother out to show
What I could do. And all I knew,
All my speed and grace, all
My whole accomplishment, in short,
Was only dangerous fooling around
To her, and she declared the fence
Was out of bounds. That didnīt stop
My walking it, of course; permission
Wasnīt what I wanted then,
And isnīt what Iīm after now.
What I want is those who know
To smile at what Iīm doing, who know
How hard it is to walk a fence,
The bruising ground,
The difficulties speed and grace have hidden
No matter how forbidding or forbidden.

Marcus Bales

If you've any comment on this poem, Marcus Bales would be pleased to hear from you.