I hold these truths to be self-evident:
That I am created by two Glasweigans,
In their own short, stocky and handsome image
And am endowed by my creators with
Certain inalienable freedoms, to whit:
The freedom to give more than I receive
The freedom to think and not think to achieve
The freedom to write poetry that rhymes obviously
And recite it at poetry nights,
Face flushed with nerves, by candlelight.
The freedom to be Left, or to be Right
The freedom to write, not to be right.
The freedom to make mistakes,
The freedom to change
The freedom to get emotional and not watch what I say,
The freedom to be indifferent,
And not take a position
On things I freely decide are not important.
The freedom to take a position,
In opposition to all other positions,
And then to defend it until boredom
(Mine or theirs, whichever comes first)
The freedom to say that this is my work,
And that work makes freedom –
Or that it doesn’t – naively, blissfully unaware
Of the provenance
Of that terrible phrase.
The freedom to read books
That have been burned and/or banned, and
Decide for myself what I think of them,
Regardless of their place in any canon.
The freedom to watch films
Whatever Mark Kermode, or any of them, think of them.
The freedom to tell everyone what I think
Without expectation that anyone will give a shit.
The freedom to not say what I think,
When, knowing I’m not sure, that
Someone, somewhere is listening,
And can remind me of all the stupid things
I used to think, or worse still, still do.
The freedom to feel and not to think.
NB: This list is not exhaustive.
Poems like this should always be spoken
So you can hear, at the end,
If the poet’s voice is soft and broken
Then you’d know if it was really serious
And worth hearing, or if
The poet is a sarcastic shit, who is
Then you could consider if
It could be both.