Note: This poem is getting a lot of hits and some artists and educational professionals have asked my permission to make use of it in their work. Anyone can use the poem for not-for-profit cultural, educational or artistic activities, but please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Unauthorised use is copyright infringement.
I received a phone call telling me that a young friend of mine in Co Kerry was suffering due to bullying. It reminded me of the bullying I went through and eventually triumphed over when I was child and which I often refer to in my work. I wrote this poem which went out on rte arena on Wednesday 25th of July and which you will find an audio of here.
IF YOU ARE A TEACHER OR A YOUTH WORKER AND YOU WOULD LIKE ME TO TALK TO YOUR CLASS OR GROUP ABOUT BULLYING AND SURVIVING BULLYING THROUGH CREATIVITY AND INNER STRENGTH, OR YOU WOULD LIKE ME TO RUN A CREATIVE ANTI-BULLYING WORKSHOP PLEASE CONTACT ME AT email@example.com
Because I’m Human
I’m a human
made of flesh and blood and feelings.
Because of this you can hurt me.
You can really hurt me.
You can call me names. You can mock me.
You make up lies about me. You can hit me.
You can spit at me. You can make me feel lonely.
You can make me feel so angry.
You can make me cry.
You can make me feel so much hate and confusion
that I never wanted to feel.
But I’m made of other, tougher stuff as well
because I’m human.
I’m made of Spirit and Love.
I’m made of Dancing.
Dancing teams up inside me with Spirit and Love
to make me strong and outlasting.
Dancing united with Spirit and Love
throws all the hate and the mockery out of my heart.
Dancing together with Spirit and Love
sings freedom songs to me:
Sometimes you land in a good place
and sometimes you land in a bad.
Sometimes your Mondays are happy.
Sometimes your Fridays are sad.
Oh Life is a spiral, life is a whirl,
life is a merry-go round.
The world is made of fire and wind
and we’re all just blowing around.
The hurt, the craic, the pucks, the hugs:
They all take turns. They all move on.
They all come down to chance.
You can learn and grow past anything;
it’s all just steps in the dance.
I’ll dance on by you with my freedom
the way the wind blows by a ruin.
I’ll forget you like the wind forgets
every cruel thing under the sun.
And I’ll be free and dancing
when I’ve long forgotten you.
I’ll be dancing with my freedom
because that’s what humans do.
There is a very positive review of the summer issue of The Stinging Fly, which I guest edited, up at Irish Left Review, written by Donogh Brennan, the site’s editor. I am very happy to say that I am now a contributing editor for the magazine and I look forward to working along with the rest of the magazine’s team on future issues.
Irish Centre for Poetry Studies Creative Literacy
Thursday 14 June 2012
Randomers is the name of the school magazine produced by second year girls in Stanhope Street, and launched in their school in late May. You can read it on ISSU here. It was one of several successful Creative Literacy projects undertaken by Dave Lordan, Poetry Consultant to the Institute’s Irish Centre for Poetry Studies (in which the MA in Poetry Studies is situated).
Of the seventeen girls involved from Stanhope Street, twelve wrote pieces for the magazine, while the other five provided illustrations and a couple of comic strips. There were eight different cultural and national backgrounds in the class. There were variations in writing ability. One student stated; “we enjoyed the fact that we all took part, and we all had a laugh and enjoyed it. It made me able to put things in words that I couldn’t before”. Another student added: “I learned loads of big words and now my writing is much more creative. The classes helped my confidence and I am not afraid to share my opinion anymore”. Yet another student added: “The classes helped me express my imagination. I didn’t use much imagination before even though I have a great one. I really loved writing my stories for the class and reading them”.
Dave Lordan stated: “We had satire, comedy, sci-fi, and poetry contributions, to name a few. We also invented the genres of creative genealogy and creative etymology. With the help of the design team at Mater Dei we produced a glossy and attractive publication which everyone was happy with and delighted to show off among fellow-students, teaching staff, family and friends”.