This poem goes out to all the wonderful, young poets out there. To everyone who thinks that poetry is not for you and to everyone who knows that it really, really is. It’s called Take This Pen. Goes like this… To the kid they pick on ‘cos you’re small. The kid they kick because you’re tall. The kid they trip to watch you fall. Poetry is for you. It’s for you! To the kid who’s anxious, every day. The last kid, when they’re picked to play. The quiet kid with lots to say. Poetry is for you. To the kid who hides behind their hair. Who’s scared and scarred by every stare. The kid who cries when no-one’s there. Poetry is for you. To the kid that no-one sees or hears. The kid who knows she’ll end up pierced to drain the pain of tattooed tears. Poetry is for you. To the girl who’s never, ever sure or confident, but knows she’s poor. And knows there must be something more. Poetry is for you. To the lad whose dad is always missed. The kid whose mum is always pissed. The girl with scratch marks on her wrist. Poetry is for you. To the kid not wired to follow rules The kid hot-wired to glow, so fools exclude you from deluded schools and Poetry is for you. To the kid who won’t buy what we’re sold The kid who questions what we’re told You’re a treasure chest of buried gold and Poetry is for you. To the kid who feels they don’t belong, that nothing’s right, that something’s wrong. But to carry weakness makes you strong so Poetry is for you. To the girl whose birth was overseas. She burns and yearns to learn so she’s collecting words like a bunch of keys. Poetry is for you! To the kid who sees that reading breeds deep feelings for his people’s needs, so he reads and reads and reads and reads Poetry is for you To the kid who knows that light can bring out rainbows on a magpie’s wings Pens song words when the songbird sings. Poetry is for you. To the kid who’s never seen the sea, But floats across the oceans, free In dreamboats from the library. Poetry is for you. To the kid who cries for rides in cars, But flies inside astride the stars, Finds diamond rhymes in the mines of Mars! Poetry is for you. To the kid they always call a freak, a nerd, a wuss, a swot, a geek, a weirdo, but you’re you! Unique and poetry is for you To that kid inside now! Fully grown But you still feel – somehow – on your own Join us. Cos you’re not alone and Poetry is for you. Welcome! We’re expecting you! We’ve saved a place for you. It’s true that you are us and we are you and Poetry is for you. You’re different. But we’re the same! Strange family, all with different names But we’re all lit from a single flame. When poetry is for you. So here’s a gift to you from me The pen poets gave to me. Take it. It will set you free. And poetry is for you. Now prick your finger, take this pen and dip it in your blood and then you turn your burn to nine then Zen and poetry is for you. Then lift the gift that nature gave With graft and craft, re-draft and slave for greatness. It awaits the brave when poetry is for you. And turn every tear you’ve ever wept And every jeer you’ve ever kept And every fear you’ve never slept into Poetry that’s for you. And think of all those stutter times Those mutter in the gutter times Then put it in and utter lines like Poetry is for you And scribe in blood and flood the page and stride with pride across the stage and spit it in a fit of rage that poetry is for you! And you’re NOT that shy kid anymore and THIS is what you’re waiting for! You’re so much, so much, SO MUCH MORE! And poetry is for you! A giant now! No longer small! And no-one’s laughing ‘cos you’re tall. From up here you can see it all! And poetry is for you! So grab the mic now, face the crowd and tell them loud how you have vowed to leave them wowed and how you’re proud that poetry is for you. And be brilliant and unbreakable. Distinct and unmistakable. Unsinkable, unshakeable. Now poetry is for you. And be brave and confrontational Inspired and inspirational Unafraid to be sensational! Now poetry is for you. And even if they criticise, believe and don’t apologize. The foolish always mock the wise. And poetry is for you! But our craft outlasts their nasty games Their laughter only fans our flames And forgotten hands carve poet’s names when Poetry is for you. So we fight because it’s frightening Writer’s duty! Be exciting! See the beauty! Free the lightning! Now poetry is for you. So never, ever, ever fear and keep the flame in here and here and Shine YOUR light and make it clear that poetry is for you. And search for more, along the way. The lost ones that you’ll find someday. Just look into their eyes and say poetry is for you. Then say “Here’s a gift to you from me the pen a poet gave to me. Take it. It will set you free. And poetry is for you.” And there’s easier ways to spend your days. Huh, Jesus! Let me count the ways! But if you… if you shiver… when a poet says that poetry is for you. It’s for you. It’s for you. It’s for you. It’s for you.