Winning At Any Cost by David Harkins

David Harkins struggled with reading right through school and his working life. He tried a number of literacy programs but to no avail. In his late thirties, he and his wife Andrea began the High Performance Learning English Language and Learning Skills Program. Before finishing the Program David was able to read his first full length novel. This got him so excited he joined the High Performance Literary Club.

The poem below is the first poem he has ever written in his life. It cleverly captures what goes through his mind at the start of a motor bike race.

Winning At Any Cost

David at the Start on Bike 74

by David Harkins

I pull up to the start line
Thoughts racing though my head
Don’t forget to select first gear
Before the lights go red.

I just need a really good start
I don’t want to have to chase
Out front is where I need to be
To win this six lap race.

I look at the rider next to me
And I know he wants to win
But if he comes second to me
Will he cop it on the chin.

I start to think about turn one
Don’t want to take it wide
I know at least a couple of bikes
Will dive up the inside.

And will they leave me enough room
Or run me on to the grass
They will probably do anything
So as not to let me pass.

Why are they so determined
To win at any cost?
It’s only a club championship
Not a million dollar loss.

They say to have a fighting attitude
Is that really a good thing?
This is a local race track
Not an Olympic boxing ring.


David Harkins
February 2012

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David at the Finish Line

One thought on “Winning At Any Cost by David Harkins

  1. When I read your poem it felt like I was sitting on your bike with you at the starting line. And the short rhythmical lines gave the impression of a pulsating motor bike which added an urgency to the thoughts about the challenge and risks ahead.

    Since reading your poem, every time I see a sporting event in action I think about what is going on in the mind of the competitors instead of who is going to win – it is much more interesting.

    I hope the people you race against read your poem!

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