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At first there were none.
It wasn't upsetting (though I sure was fretting), but not even one!

And then there were four.
I wasn't controlling while we were patrolling, but then there came more.

I really liked three!
Drunk with elation (my own destinations!) but I wasn't free.

Then, OhMyGod, two!!!
Screw "reprimanding," my future's expanding, boundaries eschewed.

The best of all? Four.
This isn't regressing; the world I'm accessing, and my feet aren't sore.

Then, an uncomfortable four.
(Sigh)
A constant reminder of modes that were kinder.
Freedom abduction that leads to obstruction.
A constant restraint that's not good for my taint.
Soon there'll be none once more.

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Beautiful in execution and theme. Nicely done! $\endgroup$ – Rubio May 5 '18 at 22:00
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I'm not sure I've grasped all the details, but I'm pretty sure what we're looking at is

indeed a number of wheels, as Beastly Gerbil thinks, but over the life of an individual rather than over history. (A little like the famous Sphinx's riddle.)

At first there were none.
It wasn't upsetting (though I sure was fretting), but not even one!

To begin with, we have a baby. Might be lying or crawling or sitting, but no wheels involved.

And then there were four.
I wasn't controlling while we were patrolling, but then there came more.

In a pram. Or maybe a toy car (not steerable, hence "wasn't controlling").

I really liked three!
Drunk with elation (my own destinations!) but I wasn't free.

On a tricycle.

Then, OhMyGod, two!!!
Screw "reprimanding," my future's expanding, boundaries eschewed.

On a bike. A big step in the life of a child.

The best of all? Four.
This isn't regressing; the world I'm accessing, and my feet aren't sore.

Grown up enough to drive a car. You can abruptly get to all sorts of places that weren't practicable before.

Then, an uncomfortable four.
(Sigh)
A constant reminder of modes that were kinder.
Freedom abduction that leads to obstruction.
A constant restraint that's not good for my taint.
Soon there'll be none once more.

An old person in a wheelchair, perhaps -- in the last line, looking forward mournfully to the grave.

It's possible, but I think worse, to

treat some of these as counts of hands/feet (hence, more Sphinx-like) rather than wheels. Immobile infant, crawling baby, etc. The fours still need to be wheels, and I find the three especially unconvincing.

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  • $\begingroup$ I got sniped - 1 minute $\endgroup$ – Alan Hoover May 5 '18 at 18:28
  • $\begingroup$ Pretty sure on my wheels guess but I like this much more as an answer, and I’m guessing this is correct - and the title makes sense as well I guess... $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil May 5 '18 at 21:33
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, nicely done, though hands/feet is going to give me nightmares :-0 Your ☑ is in the mail. $\endgroup$ – Chowzen May 6 '18 at 1:11
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Inspired by Baeastly Gerbil's answer. I think this is about

The number of wheels used by a person through their lifetime

At first there were none. It wasn't upsetting (though I sure was fretting), but not even one!

newborn babies do not go anywhere.

And then there were four. I wasn't controlling while we were patrolling, but then there came more.

being pushed around the neighborhood in a (four-wheeled) stroller

I really liked three! Drunk with elation (my own destinations!) but I wasn't free.

a toddler gets a tricycle

Then, OhMyGod, two!!! Screw "reprimanding," my future's expanding, boundaries eschewed.

first bicycle :D

The best of all? Four. This isn't regressing; the world I'm accessing, and my feet aren't sore.

getting a car as a teenager/young adult

Then, an uncomfortable four. (Sigh) A constant reminder of modes that were kinder. Freedom abduction that leads to obstruction. A constant restraint that's not good for my taint. Soon there'll be none once more.

getting old and feeble and confined to a (four-wheeled) wheelchair

Title

like Beastly Gerbil pointed out - those go downhill fast -- too fast, if not properly controlled.

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My guess is that this poem refers to

The number of wheels on automobiles

Title: This poem goes downhill quickly

Things with wheels sure would go downhill quickly


At first there were none.
It wasn't upsetting (though I sure was fretting), but not even one!

To start, no automobile had been invented

And then there were four.
I wasn't controlling while we were patrolling, but then there came more.

The first wagon was invented - but it was horse led. Then came cars with 4 wheels.

I really liked three!
Drunk with elation (my own destinations!) but I wasn't free.

3 wheeled cars were then invented by Karl Benz

Then, OhMyGod, two!!!
Screw "reprimanding," my future's expanding, boundaries eschewed.

The motorcycle (motorbike) was invented with just two wheels.

The best of all? Four.
This isn't regressing; the world I'm accessing, and my feet aren't sore.

Despite going back to the trusty old 4 wheels, the newest sports cars were invented and cars now certainly allow you to travel quickly without walking

Then, an uncomfortable four.
(Sigh)

Most likely a bus - which can be very uncomfortable

A constant reminder of modes that were kinder.
Freedom abduction that leads to obstruction.

Buses certainly make me at least wish I was in a car...

A constant restraint that's not good for my taint.
Soon there'll be none once more.

We now have aircraft, which don't need wheels and the invention of flying cars may be very soon.


Could be way off, but hopefully this is quite close...

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  • $\begingroup$ Hmm. I'm not convinced, especially by the last verse - buses go back to the 1830s, predating any kind of cars. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor May 5 '18 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Randal'Thor The last verse I struggled with the most - all the others can be argued (there is a lot of debate about when different automobiles where actually invented and by who) - but a bus was the only ‘uncomfortable’ four wheeled automobile I could think of $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil May 5 '18 at 21:31

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