Heather Reid: A Poetry Reading


As the poetry begins
some close their eyes
and rest their steepled fingers
tip to tip.
Others, mostly men,
will strike a pose,
or prop their drooping heads in
goblet hands, as though the air
is corpulent with words
whose gravitas weighs heavy on their minds.

And as the night wears on
a few will slump;
like glasses they're half empty
or half full,
and several more will
perch on edge of seat,
and some will start to wish they'd
never come but hope
another interval allows
the opportunity for one more round.

And one or two will think they
can do better
and no-one's really sure when
they should clap,
so mostly mmm and aaagh
at every ending,
except for all those seated
at the back who cannot hear and
can't be arsed pretending.

And when at last it ends
there will be those
who feel the poet's pain and
wipe a tear,
and others who'll suspect
they've missed the point
or wish there'd been some music
or more beer
or that their girlfriends, spouses,
lovers, friends had interests less poetic,
more Top Gear.