What are you afraid to say?

I've been asked, by people following my blog, to include the poems I read on my recent poetry tour, so I'm putting them on here, then will be providing links back here from the blog. Hence...


What are you afraid to say?


You stand and ask what I’m afraid to say?

I’m afraid to say lots of things:

afraid to say no, to say stop, to say sorry;

afraid to say I’m wrong.


I’m afraid that the system which sees to my sickness

has no interest in my health; afraid of men with clubs and guns

who hide behind the curtain of a flag; afraid of men with pens and forms

who make it hard to say that we are free.


I’m afraid to say that I hate art;

I’m afraid to say the Toon will get promoted

because it might jinx the result;

I’m afraid my son will always contradict me,

and afraid when he says he’s afraid of nowt.

I’ve seen how the world treats people who speak out.


I’m afraid of disagreement, of the negative response,

of giving offense, of not being respected.

Afraid of glib talk of human rights

from those who sideline me as not quite human.

I’m afraid I might lose every fight.


I’m afraid of disinterested bystanders

who don’t see their fight in mine;

afraid I won’t be good enough

to do this on my own; afraid that, despite my efforts,

this won’t work.


I’m afraid to say that I’m afraid, and I’m afraid

that this will never change.


And then it changes.


(written by Adam Fish, based on contributions from participants in the Interactive Poetry Session of Newcastle’s Human Rights Celebration, Dec 12th 2009, including Dr Annand, Mick Ferris, and many other participants who didn’t wish to leave a name.)


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