Steep the steps into the Earth,
The Malt Cross caves – the poets’ turf –
You feel at once that childish dread
Because your Dad … he would have said,
That, “bears live here …”
And you’d, laughing, fear
And watch for danger just the same.
The irrational mind is hard to tame!
The mouth of the cave, however, is clear.
There are no bears to be found here …
Yet, still afraid, you stand and gawp,
With Keating’s most barbaric yawp
Resounding now inside your mind.
You dig in deep and hope to find
The courage just to have a go,
To share that personal ebb and flow
Of your profound and sacred word
That no one has, until now, heard.
The support of this poetic crowd,
Is so sincere and joyfully loud –
It’s bare and real with earnest writing
Put forth by people who delight in
The chance to bolster, help, encourage
And nurture each and every flourish
Of all of us, each fresh new poet.
They like your poem, then they’ll show it –
Spur you on with whoops and cheers
And the raising of the wines and beers,
So each of us proud newbies knows
That our poems, songs and prose,
Whether raw, unfinished or perfected,
Are heard, enjoyed and, best, respected.
There’s never any judgement here,
So all that you need ever fear
Are the demons deep inside,
Which you’ll find are hard to hide,
When revealing your imperfect soul
Deep in the heart of the bare cave.
This is for Al, who wrote a super post about his first Crosswords open mic at the Malt Cross. You can find it here: What a Performance
Thanks for the inspiration, Al; I’m sure we’ll bump into each other at an open mic soon!