Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Right Word in the Right Place

Story tellers can learn much from poets about the skilful art of getting the right word in the right place.

I am glad that my English literature studies at university introduced me to the poems of Roger McGough, one of my favourite poets.

I love the reflection contained in this short poem:

A nun in a supermarket
Standing in a queue,
Wondering what it’s like
To buy groceries for two.

Or the humour or is it the sadness in this shorter poem?:

“I’ve almost reached breaking point,”
She snapped!

There are three poems by Roger McGough with words and the audio on a wonderful new Poetry web site called ‘Poetry Archive’ and found at this web address:

The poem called ‘Oxygen’ needs to be heard to be fully appreciated. It could make a great opener for a talk on creation, life, resurrection or the breath of the Holy Spirit.

I love McGough’s 'Funicular Railway'. In the audio he adds more than what is found in the text, which illustrates the way speakers can get on a roll, thanks to a live audience. The way people reflect on their experience of being on this Italian train offers some delightful insights into cultural behaviour. If I paste the text here you may not discover the web site which is a growing treasury for public speakers and lovers of poetry.

Geoff Pound

Image: Roger McGough.