If These Books Could Talk (a poem)


I am the fruit of knowledge and experience,

The product of months and years,

Of pain and joy and toil and tears.

I am coloured by a worldview that is my own, 

Shared by no other.

I am built from mistakes and reflection,

From failures and mis-steps and triumphs,

Perhaps I am even built from wisdom.

Alone, I cannot give you these things.

Knowledge, experience, skill are not mine to bestow.

But together. Ah, together!

A meeting of minds, in the moment, or across the years.

A new construction. 

My words meet your thoughts.

My worldview blends with yours.

There is work involved, but also reward.

I cannot give you knowledge or understanding,

But I can advise and guide the way.

Take what I give and forge your own path.

Bring your experience, passions, skills.

Use your mistakes, triumphs, failures.

Then…

Knowledge, understanding, perhaps even wisdom.

Not mine to give. 

But yours to build on, and yours to surpass.


This is a poem which I wrote back in 2018, in response to a poetry symposium held on campus called Poetic Nursing Heart. I attended the first (and indeed subsequent) symposium, where I heard from nursing students and staff about their philosophy, concerns and joys through the medium of poetry. I also shared some of my own poetry, from the perspective of a mental health service user (you can find some of that on this very blog), but I wanted to respond in a different way. So I wrote these words, in theory from the perspective of our books, but showing some of how I feel about my role as well.

This is also a handy moment to be able to say that I’ve started a YouTube channel to share some of my writing and singing (at least, I don’t think I’ve already mentioned it). Here’s the poem as uploaded to YouTube – and please do check out some of my other videos there as well, while I experiment with how to do the YouTube thing.

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