Sunday, November 2, 2008

My first poetry recitation


If I were a McCain or an Obama,
Then public speaking would not hold such terror.
But sadly I possess a chronic stammer,
A total lack of eloquence in grammar,
That renders public speaking quite an error.

Oh how I envy all those glib presenters
Who strut their stuff before the TV cameras,
Wearing shirts of lilacs or magentas,
Waxing loud in television centres –
A world away from this poor tongue-tied stammerer.

And so, when called upon for public speaking,
Politely I declined all invitations.
The merest thought would set my knee-joints creaking,
In my head, alarm bells would start shrieking
And my body would succumb to palpitations.

But then I got this bug for verbal rhyming,
Which very oft requires a live performance.
Its not an art that can be done by miming
And stuttering plays havoc with the timing,
According to reliable informants.

But, I saw I’d have to grasp the nettle
And wax forth like a multitude of linnets.
But even if I turned up in fine fettle,
Saying words like ‘Popacatepetl’
Might take the better part of fifteen minutes.

But still, with fear and hope in equal measure,
I took the mike and blessed the holy trinity.
“Don’t rush it son, just take it at your leisure.”
“Every word you speak will give such pleasure.”
“Farewell, oratorial virginity.”

The first line – well, it came out rather fluent,
With just the merest soup├žon of a stutter.
But then for every feckin’ line pursuant,
My eloquence, I’m sad to say, played truant,
Not one simple sentence could I utter.

Oh God, it carried on, ad infinitum,
My words of wisdom simply kept on sticking.
Small gems, but sadly I could not recite ‘em,
Never mind attempt to expedite ‘em,
And the clock up on the wall just kept on ticking.

At first the crowd just sat there most politely
As I grimaced and I struggled and I swallowed.
At length, a few rose to their feet contritely
And tiptoed to the exit very lightly,
At which, the rest, in one mad scramble, followed.

Of course, as soon as I had been forsaken,
And left alone to my finish my oration,
Why then my tongue and tonsils did awaken,
As with panache I sure brought home the bacon
With a masterclass of great communication.

So now, when I attend these poem readings,
I participate with tickets for the raffle,
But despite Sir Seamus Heaney’s earnest pleadings,
I will take no active part in the proceedings,
Unless of course, they’ve tempted me at Baffle.
.
I wrote this originally to perform at the BAFFLE Festival - theme "The First Time" - in Loughrea on the October Bank Holiday weekend. Then changed my mind and used "Stuck for words" instead.

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