Smile

I could stand and say a sad poem.

One about how hard life is, how dark.

I could simmer and boil, spit my sorrow.

It’s easier; to speak with a bark.

 

I could speak you my pain, all its shades.

Not colours. More like one blurry mist.

We could sit here, you and I, and trade.

Trade. Our different scars and stories.

 

But! I won’t. There’s too much to smile for.

Smiles are overlooked – but they have life.

Life. Is full, we have so much in us.

Look to yourselves, hold what you have close.

 

My nephews, as precious as they are loud,

They teach me how to see colours.

My friends, here and there, stop me getting proud,

Keep me steady. It’s funny, this poem.

 

I hide in it. All my emotion,

Bound up in poorly written verse,

The shy man’s curse. But I can still smile.

The truest lines are those on our faces:

Stories, confessions – all speak through them.

 

The gloom of sorrow fades when we look.

Look. To one another, old and new.

Look steadily. Read the lines on the page.

Translate the smiles and the tears.

Dwell on something true.

 

*(Performed at Chintz, Falmouth. 2017 February)

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