Last Friday I had the pleasure of reading my poem ‘You and I’ ( a copy of the poem can be seen at the bottom of this post) at the Upper Hutt Library Poetry Awards evening in Wellington, NZ. I was super excited to be asked to read at the event as not only was this the first time I would be reading my own poetry aloud to an audience, I had also been shortlisted for the poetry award!
When I received the email telling me I had been shortlisted, I went into full ‘Snoopy’ dance mode with arms flapping everywhere like a crazed woman! After many rejections over the years from poetry competitions, it was nice to be shortlisted for something and it has also taught me a valuable lesson in writing; that perseverance is key. And for any aspiring writers out there who are still looking for just the smallest of breaks; KEEP GOING. One day your opportunity will come. 🙂
Back to the topic in hand, the poetry awards were being held on Wellington’s national poetry day and at the event were ten other poets, all ready and eager to share their poems. All of the poems were based on the theme ‘together’, yet despite the common theme the poems all approached the theme in different ways and it was fascinating to listen to all the poems shortlisted on the night. Some of the poets also explained their reasoning behind their poem which gave the audience and I a further insight as to why they had written the poem in the way they had, which was much more interesting than just reading the poem from the page with no context.
It was a really well organised night and it was clear that the Upper Hutt library staff had put a lot of effort into this night and because of this, you can tell the audience really enjoyed the evening. So thank you guys for running an awesome evening and I look forward to any future literary events you might hold.
When it was my turn to head to the podium to read I could feel the butterflies dancing away in my stomach but somehow despite the nerves, I managed to say the words in the right order and hopefully convey some of the meaning behind my poem. After finishing the reading I felt a small rush of adrenaline as it was all rather exciting that I had actually read my poem to a live audience! I can see how going up on stage can become quite addictive! For now though, I feel most at home sitting behind a writing desk rather than standing up on a stage.
Although I did not win, (the winner was Kate T who wrote the poem ‘Earthshakers’- a very well deserved winner) it did not matter at all as the experience itself was quite something and it will spur me on to improve my writing in future. Plus they gave all the shortlisted poets a box of chocolates. What more can a girl ask for than chocolates and poetry!
So for those who aren’t sure about taking part in a poetry event or reading their poem aloud, I would say just go for it! In fact, people at work had got wind of me going to this event and I was asked to read my poem again at a team meeting, so you never know where your next writing opportunity will take you and who will be interested in listening to your work.
You and I
When you leave yet another mess on the kitchen table, I wonder how we are together.
Yet I could never lose you, those breadcrumbs go on forever…
When you can’t sleep at night and you toss and turn,
I feel a deep concern
that I am on a sinking ship rather than lying in a bed.
Be calm. I need to rest my weary head.
And that time you forgot to bring back a bottle of wine
but remembered your beers and mince pie, and in front of me you dined.
I could’ve murdered you
but I didn’t as I just had the carpets shampooed.
Despite the things you do to drive me round the bend,
I am just so grateful that to me you are more than just a friend.
Those moments when you have been patient as I have rattled on
about Nancy from accounts being the incarnation of Satan.
There was time I came home for a run and my shoes gave off an awful pong.
Nothing in the world could smell as strong.
I was so tired I could not move
and so you bravely approached the shoes.
In the bin they were gone.
No questions or fuss made, not even a dance or a song.
I also remembered when you bought me my favourite food; French Fries.
I had one of those days where I just cried and cried.
The fries were soggy but it did not matter
As you held me close to quiet the inner chatter.
Without you there would be no I, we are entwined together.
But please clear up those crumbs before I reach the end of my tether.