I Shouldn’t Poem

I really shouldn’t poem. I’ve always been quite sure of it.

I lack the many skills required to really make a go of it. I have no rhythm, I don’t get meter; my thoughts don’t go much further than a half-coherent Twi-ee-ter (?)


on whatever thing’s annoyed me on some given grumpy day. It’s quite beyond my wit to write a longer piece to say

what’s on my mind.

It’s not my kind

of medium, I tell myself, while all the while I sit

and listen to the words of poets and in amongst them hear this constant little voice that says, “Express your thoughts, let go your anger, take this pen and strike me down and journey to the Dark Side and together we can rule the galaxy as poet and composition”.

I said, “That escalated quickly, I hadn’t really thought

“that putting a few words together would end up quite that fraught.

“I know that words are powerful, but I always kind of reasoned

“that they’d have to be in better hands than mine to bring about… interstellar… tyranny.

“I mean, mine don’t even rhyme.”

I kid! I should make clear that I know that ain’t a rule; that lines don’t have to bounce along like Doctor Seuss I read in school,

But even so there’s skill involved, and mine is… less than modest.

I’m no master, and I fear that branching out like this can only bring inevitable literary disaster.

But the Voice is sly. The Voice persists, and whispers in one’s ear:

“It is a braver thing,” it says, “To disregard your fear, than to live your life on rails, thinking always in the box.

“You’ll never thrive, you’ll never grow, and you’ll never shed the rocks of weighty insecurity.”

“Look, Voice,” I said, “I’d be remiss if I dismiss the tempting opportunity;


“Before you can do poet-ree,

“you’ve really got to be able to fit things together in a coherent way so that there’s an intrinsic rhythm, a sense of drive and flow which draws the listener on and evokes thoughtfulness or emotional responses leaving them feeling, ultimately, enriched by the experience.

“And then of course I have to add, I’d really hate to find,

“in taking up your offer that I’d left myself quite blind to well-known cautionary tales.

“Like poor McGonagall, his life in verse all weaponised peas and raucous gales

“Of laughter.


“I must confess I’m interested, and like many things beside, it makes no sense to rule it out for just an overflow of pride.”

“The thing you have to keep in mind,” the Voice said with finality,

“Is that while you’re standing at the mic there’s undeniable formality

“To be observed:

“For at least two minutes, maybe three, politeness mostly means,

“That short of going the Scottish route and bringing out the peas (damn that publican for not throwing beans which would at least have rhymed there),

“The stage is yours, the words your own and when all’s said and been, there’s rules in place that mean,

“There’s nothing they can do,

“To shut you up.”

I guess my ego’s really not as dormant as I’d hoped. I felt it stir and next I knew I’d got myself quite roped

into writing this.

Which came as something of a surprise, if I’m honest.

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