Their eyes are filming over.
Their shoulders are stiffening.
They’re in defensive-polite posture.
They feel threatened by poetry.
But isn’t this just what they should be?
Their little worlds, threatened by the greater world out there?
Didn’t you have to go through this yourself?
For their sake, those who follow, wish to follow?
Isn’t this the proof that
Poetry Matters? ..
Sure – on paper – but not, please,
so visibly, and not right now…
the carer in you winces;
the poet, calls the self to duty;
the teacher in you, piercing of eye and human perception,
marks them off, one by one –
the officers of the poetry society,
impassively attentive, have
the easiest job – they don’t have to
like your poems – just approve,
clear up after, lock the hall…
and some look just simply hungry;
traffic bad in getting here
so get home first, then eat;
some find it just too long;
a little poetry goes a long way for them;
some are here because they think
you’ll notice if they aren’t…
some have just combined you
with a shopping trip to town; culture
a kinda penance for the overspend..
yup, time to flip over the pages
to the funnies, and the family ones;
turn up the volume of your voice, speed up a little
as if you too, are glad it’s ending soon;
with a bit of luck, you’ll get them
smiling at each other at each poem’s end, towards the end..
The applause is warm with virtue and relief.
but at least you threatened them a while –
if not with boredom, perhaps with poetry.

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