Poles Apart

Pat lent me a telescopic trekking pole
To try out on yesterday’s five mile stroll.
Mine was too short, Pat had seen,
As I stood ungainly, inclined to lean.
It didn’t provide the support I needed.
Pat’s advice would be gratefully heeded.
‘With pole upright as it strikes the ground,
Parallel to the floor, the forearm is found.’

Later, searching on the internet,
I was keen to buy a new two-piece set.
An ideal pair soon caught my eye.
The spec looked right, they were worth a try.
With finger hovering over ‘Place your Order’,
Up popped a message in the border:
‘You purchased this item in twenty twelve’
So through back orders I began to delve.
Umm, ‘how strange, I’d forgotten that,
Here is the receipt, including vat’.
What kind of silly fool am I?
A first class idiot, I can’t deny!

But the real question is, it’s fair to report,
‘Why was my pole much too short?’
Baffled, I found the other one,
Hidden in the wardrobe; I thought it gone.
After a couple of twists, as well it might,
Lo and behold it reached the full height.
But why the difference between the two?
How come the first one never grew?
When each was placed against the other
They looked like twins, sister and brother.
Yet one was minus the bottom extension.
Way back then, it had slipped my attention.
So where could be the elusive section?
The packaging led me in the right direction,
There languishing inside was the missing piece.
Wonders surely never cease!

Bought initially for muddy days,
I vaguely recall through memory’s haze,
Of accidentally creating a breach,
By wondering how far the shaft might reach.
All at once it had slipped from its socket
And refused to re-engage the sprocket.
Try as I did, they were poles apart,
Broken before it had a start.

So, recently needing the use of a pole,
I grabbed the wrong one for the weekly stroll.
It never occurred it was undersize.
I wanted support whatever the guise.

‘Right’, I determined, let’s get this sorted,
And complete what earlier had been aborted’.
I wiped away the specks of mud,
Caked around the bottom stud.
An hour later I was still on the go;
A laborious task, the progress was slow.
Patiently poking with coat hanger wire,
The muck had risen ten inches higher.
Warm running water flushed out every bit
Of the collective slop and accompanying grit,
That had forced itself way up the shaft.
If it weren’t for the tears I would have laughed!

Thinking finally the job was done,
The next twenty minutes were hardly fun.
Cajoling the two pieces back together,
Almost saw me at the end of my tether!
At last with brute force and sheer persistence,
They both embraced without resistance.

Now, it’s official, the shafts are united,
And fully functioning poles can be sighted
In the hands of a rambler, who, without fail,
Is merrily striding over hill and dale.

So if you wish to achieve your walking goals,
Never over-extend your trekking poles.

Roger Lee