A Welsh Poet In Japan

I don’t normally do more than one blog post a week on here but I felt that this was something that deserved the extra effort and push. Mab Jones who I first saw at the 2010 Wychwood Festival, is currently in Japan sharing welsh culture in the form of poetry. She is being funded for part of the trip but not all so there is an attempt to crowd source the rest and we don’t have that long to do it in!

So if you love poetry and international cooperation then why not bung a tenner in the kitty :) In other words go here and sponsor her.

There is something else – which though I love Wales and the welsh language (hence trying to learn it), is probably the most important bit for me at least. She is also high lighting and talking in schools about a condition called Selective Mutism (used to be known as elective mutism). This is were someone who can speak just sort of stops either completely or in certain situations.

As I think I may have mentioned in previous blog posts about music and the like, I had lots of problems with communication as a child – having hearing problems and other issues including a lisp and the dyslexia. Part of what happened is around the time I had the operation on my ears I stopped talking, became reclusive and excessively shy. I would only look at people through my eye lashes. Then when I did start talking again I had a stutter – the stutter which still sometimes appears always got worse when I was stressed.

It took speech therapists and an brilliant teachers who encouraged me to explore poetry and stage which with the dyslexia was a tricky thing. One of the reasons I started reading my poetry out at open mics after my baby was born was that I feared I would slip back into forgetting how to talk. I am excessively shy (which no one ever believes!) – it is a form of social anxiety. I struggle going to events at venues I’ve never been to before and the like.

People see the word shy and they think it is a little thing – which it probably is for most people but not for me. I don’t know if selective mutism is always connected to shyness. Lots of things happened around the time I stopped talking and stopped looking at people – the ability to hear when I hadn’t been able too I think did not help at all. Sound was a wall and I could not extract peoples voices and what they were saying from the malee.

As always having thought about this and having a conversation with my husband I came up with a poem.


Shy sits silently
Shrouded by curtains of curly hair
Staring scared from below lashes
Squashed firmly into shadows
Watching with secret hopes
Crowds dancing
Loud is the sound
Such a slender slight form Shy retreats
Shy’s voice is lost
Scared away today
No one notices anymore
The scintillating scene streams past
Shy slips away into self consciousness
Screaming in silent agonies
Shy’s words are broken
When the word’s voice speaks – they stutter
Shattering the sounds of thoughts that should be shared
Shy used to speak but no one listened
So the word stream stopped
Clogged with What’s the Point?s and Silly Childs
But now barbed words are stinging
Struggling for escape
Ripping the throat
Sitting still Shy thinks
One day the song will come
And then Shy will sing!
Sing on Stage!
Staggering the audience
But for now Shy hides in the shadows
Silent and grave

Posted: Friday, March 16th, 2012 @ 2:59 pm
Categories: About Poetry, Festivals and Events, Performance, Poems.
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2 Responses to “A Welsh Poet In Japan”

  1. Mab Jones Says:

    Thank you for writing this, it made me feel that combination of happy/sad that I love/hate to experience! I think shyness should be explored/examined/written about, by those who have/are had by it… What is it, and why? Its complex, as you say. Anyway, this is a lovely poem, and a v interesting post. Thanks for sharing (and for the plug, too!!) Best wishes, Mab x

  2. Turquoise Monster » Blog Archive » Edinburgh e-Book Festival Says:

    […] have given them my poem Shy to use – do check it out It looks […]

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