What is it, this Life?

When I woke up this morning I spoke some words in my head which came out in their usual rhyming way. Thoughts which clearly had been troubling my subconscious during the night. I jotted the bones of what is written here now into my notebook before writing it out in full tonight in this post.

The poem is personal, deeply personal but then I think all poems are.

For me this blog post is different as you will notice I have braved an audio version of me speaking this poem aloud. I don’t know why I felt the need to do that with this one as I have never felt compelled before. But I felt the meter of this one needed to be spoken. I’ve surprised myself doing this as anyone who knows me, knows I don’t like to hear audios of my own voice. However I have bitten the bullet and done it. Brave new world and all that.

Apologies in advance if you do choose to listen. The sound quality is a bit crackly towards the end. This was only done on the voice recorder app on my phone. (I’m so technical!) Also I sound as though I can’t breathe properly! (I’d be rubbish as a singer!) Oh and yes, my Brummie roots are evident in some of my vowels…luv! πŸ™‚

Also, the poem is a serious one.

I’ll do a fun one soon! If I feel brave enough for another voice thing at any point in the future.

Anyway, here it is:

What is it,

This life

If not to be shared?

To waltz through


To never be paired…?

Is torturous pain

Which haunts the weak mind

Eternally searching

For ties that bind.

The tango was only

Ever meant

For two

There should never be me,

Only me and you.

The brightest of nights

Can grow darker still,

No warm arms enfold

And ward off the chill.

Embers flicker

Coals wait to be lit,

But time marches on

Through the deepening pit.

So what is it

This life,

With no one to share,

With no one to love

No one to care?

Pointless and drab

Colourless, cold

Empty and meaningless

With no one to hold.

No one to dream with

Or aim for the skies

No one to cherish

The long goodbyes.

No one to laugh with

To talk to, to speak

No one for strength

At the start of a week.

So what is it,

This life

If we can’t find the one?

To share in our hopes

In our dreams

In our fun?

The key must be

To open the door

To unlock the heart


What passed before.

To trust and to love

Embrace possibility,

To find in another

To see what could be.











Filed under General Rambliings, Writing

15 responses to “What is it, this Life?

  1. Well … it was easy to be distracted by such a lovely reading (you have a really nice voice, JB) but whether listened to or read, this is a fine piece of work. As you say, it’s very personal to you, and I feel you’ve managed to do what all great poets do – bring forth those personal elements while making the themes universal to the reader.

    I liked the positive note at the end – wise words πŸ™‚

    • Thank you so much for those very kind comments RJ. Me wise? Haha! Who’d have thought heh? But yes, I guess poetry, well all writing has to come from the heart but then also make the theme universal in some way. If I’ve managed that, then this is good.
      As for my voice: I speak at about 90mph usually! I can’t half gabble (hence why I love writing!) I did the recording 3 times and added 15 seconds between the first and third attempts. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve told children to slow down when performing in plays or when reading!
      Anyway, thanks once again for reading and your comments. Much appreciated.

  2. You have a great reading voice, so soft and gentle!

    A nice poem too, I identified with it with some thoughts I had following my own break-up.

    • Oh, thank you so much. I’ve discovered my reading voice is far more soft and gentle than how I usually speak! If anyone in my family or friends read your comment, they will laugh!

      I’m glad the words have spoken to others. This is why we write . πŸ™‚

  3. Simply beautiful and made better by your reading. You have the perfect voice for it, I can’t wait to listen to your audio book!

    • Oh thank you Callie. πŸ™‚

      Hahaha! I’ll be hiring Stephen Fry or someone for that should I ever be lucky enough to be in that position. Hahaha!
      My voice is usually a lot more manic than that, believe me πŸ˜€

  4. Fantastic reading voice JB. I loved hearing where you put your emphasis. And I know feel I know you better for knowing what you sound like, Nillu

    • Thank you so much Nillu. Yes, it was the points of emphasis which made me feel the need to read this one aloud. But I am a believer in all poetry is created to be read aloud or performed. It’s so different to narrative.

      • Ooh I agree. I’d love to find an open mic to go to around here (listen not perform!). Really enjoying spoken word poetry at the moment. There was a 16 year old who performed at a women’s day conference I organised earlier this year when I was still at the Mayor’s Office and it came to life through performance. Agree entirely x

  5. Lovely, lovely, lovely voice! I’m so happy to know what you sound like now! Yay πŸ™‚ I read the poem first and it really is a beautiful expression of emotions through words, images, rhyme, and rhythm and your reading made it come alive. Very nice.

    • Thank you! Yes, I wonder how many read it first before listening? I like to read first as it’s good to put your own rhythm to it first and take the emphasis from where you like. πŸ™‚ Thank you for reading and I’m glad you enjoyed it. πŸ™‚

  6. Late to the party here, sorry – but wow, Joanne, that was beautiful, both in substance and in performance. I echo Callie’s comments – no need to hire Mr. Fry, your voice is perfect.

    • That means a great deal coming from you, Graham. Thank you very much for your kind words. I might need to adopt this new fake voice of mine for everyday use! πŸ˜‰

  7. Clive Moore

    Beautiful. You have a lovely reading voice

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