Loose Talk Can Cost Lives

Say Something
How do you talk? Or, rather, speak? We all
Can talk at length, and breadth, but few can speak.
Mere talk is not enough to break a fall,
To mend a hurt or puncture the mystique
That like a shroud envelops life, and death,
And everything that’s in between the two.
And what is that? What separates his breath,
Her cry, their laughs, your final sigh from you?

Promise me this, my tongue-tied friends:
Always remember, your words count.
Funny and beautiful,
Ugly and heart-breaking;

Shout from the rooftops or
Whisper in cloisters that
Echo with love-songs and
Poems and centuries
Crammed with the lives and the
Loves and the words of the
Ones that have gone before;

I don’t mind what you say, or when, or how or to whom you say it,
But even if you only ever get to do it once, say something!


‘Language is courage: the ability to conceive a thought, to speak it, and by doing so to make it true.’ – Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses.

Oddly prophetic given what happened when the book was published. There can’t be many people  who know more about language and courage than Salman Rushdie.


Tricolon, Tricolon, Tricolon

On the off chance that anyone involved in UCL’s production of The Trojan Women is reading this, hearty congratulations. I saw it tonight and was very impressed.

Why’d You Lie, Mr Simon?
Your words will not save you.
Your collected works and rhyming dictionaries
Will not fill the void. Though what you create may be
A friend for the lonely, a solace for the ill,
A ray of light for those who walk in gloom,
They will hold no comfort for you.

Who’s to say that you will even live to see
Your books half-read on the tube,
Your poems half-remembered in stuffy classrooms,
Your music half-heard and used as a backbeat for the amorously ambitious.

No, your words will not save you.
Only people can do that.


‘Being an artist doesn’t mean that you’re a good artist. That was the bargain I first made with myself: I’d say, I’m an artist, but I’m not really very good.’ – Paul Simon

There’s hope for us all yet. Once again, Paul, thank you.