You say that words read from paper
Held in my hands are not worth listening to
If I cannot recall from memory the words.
Does that mean that the words must be memorised;
Stored in my mind to hold any significance?
Did Shakespeare have to hold every sonnet in his head
For it to be worthy of your ears?
Did Mozart need to play from memory his life work
The man who stumbled and bumbled does not appear humbled
Perhaps you would not have fumbled
If you held the words in your hands
Do works of wonder, held captive by paper or screen
Not make your heart light?
And does it make me any the less an artist
Because I cannot hold on the tip of my tongue
The words I think will entrance you?
I have papers stacked on my desk
I would struggle to recall a single complete sentence
Does that mean you should ignore what the paper holds
Your arrogant words do not need to tell me-
But show that you are a fool
You are not here with a room of Wordsworths or Byrons:
You are here with a room of wordsmiths who just want to be better
To share small thoughts with this small world
And make people smile, or think,
I will memorise this poem not to gain your respect
But so when I share it with the masses
I can look you in the eye and tell you
I am not Shakespeare or Burns but Sir neither are you!
So respect those around you
The ones who cheered when you rose to talk
The ones who applauded even though you
Fell over your own well memorised words.
So do not scold those who you do not know
Because next time you stumble I know I
Will be fucking smug
Remembering your previous words:
“If you cannot be bothered to learn your poem,
why should I be bothered to listen?”
I performed this recently at the Back of the Pub Poetry Club which was a fantastic spoken word event in Cardiff. I had a fab evening and the performance was recorded so I will hopefully get a chance to see myself perform.
Thank you to the lovely Hayley Cathryn who helped with editing 🙂