Earlier this year my colleagues and I were asked to give a 5 minute presentation on things that inspired us. Talking about myself and giving a presentation are two things guaranteed to set my nerves jangling so I thought I’d be clever and hide behind a spoken word/performance poem.
I thought that by writing a poem I could avoid presentation nerves. It wasn’t until I was sitting at the front of the room facing my team that I realised it was the first time I’d ever performed my poetry publicly. Gulp! For me sharing poetry feels like I am giving away a bit of my soul anyway but facing an audience no matter how small made me feel like my soul was being gobbled up. I had to channel my spirit guide Maya Angelou just to get through it.
If that wasn’t scary enough, in December I was asked to perform the poem in front of a camera for our annual Staff Awards. Whilst I felt truly honoured, the thought of being videotaped made me gag so I knocked up a video instead. This is the result.
Here are the words with some links for further reading.
When I read that Ida B Wells refused to give up her seat on the train to some racist Southerner
I was inspired
50 years later Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus and they raised a statue to her
But Rosa claimed she was just tired
Still, I am inspired
When I think of the activists who were battered and bullwhipped as they marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge for voter’s rights,
I am moved
When I hear of another life lost to the weapon of a misguided cop
I am galvanised
And I think
What would Ida, Rosa or Dr King do?
Then I jump on Twitter trying not to be twisted and bitter
Raising my banner
Hashtag: Black lives matter
When young Nobel Prize winner Malal was shot by the Taliban she made a miraculous recovery and went on to advocate for female education
How can I not be inspired?
I am inspired to write, to tweet, to march and to lend my voice to the truth that
Hashtag: To educate a girl is to educate a nation
Anyone who fights for the rights of the down trodden, from child brides and refuges to modern day slaves, has my support and admiration.
The condemnation of LGBT+ people,
The way some people think different means wrong
Motivates me to speak out
Hashtag: All lives matter
Then there’s young Abby Tomlinson not quite old enough to vote but still able to express a political opinion.
She took the media to task about their anti Ed Miliband campaign and raised his sexiness level.
Believe it or not even Katie Hopkins inspires me
To be the best human that I can be.
Hashtag: No platform for hate
We landed a probe on a moving comet and the odds of me living on another planet just got better.
I’m moved by the way the universe decides that every so many years the sun and moon should get together and kiss
But luckily for us they always miss
Hashtag: Solar eclipse
I admit that some of the things that inspire me send me into the red first.
Where I have to take a moment to cry and scream and curse
But back in the black and using my humanity as a reference
I ask myself how I can
Hashtag: Make a difference
The world can be a wondrous yet sometimes wretched place
But while we wait for the universe to do a course correction
I am still able to draw some inspiration
Which simply means I am because we are