Layout Image

If I Were in Charge of the World

If I were in charge of the world, banners would fly in the sky, telling folk how beautiful they were, not just on birthdays but on everyday ordinary days.

If I were in charge of the world, dragons would roam through the streets at night, lighting touchpapers of desire.  Unicorns would drift by the sides of the rivers, breaking open hearts with the whiteness of their dreaming.

If I were in charge of the world, the doors of the offices would be flung wide open, and work would be done outside.

If I were in charge of the world, tiny scribbled notes would be left under pillows, just fragments of poems in the middle of the night, like a poetry tooth fairy, swapping poems for pain.

If I were in charge of the world, men would be told how good they were, how proud, how brave, how much we value the strength that they give us and the love they show us.

If I were in charge of the world, the hearts of our mothers would be kissed in the night, giving soft reassurance that all was all right.

If I were in charge of the world, reality TV would show us what was real: quiet moments of humour, of truth-telling care, in those quiet hidden places that nobody talks about, but we all know are there.

If I were in charge of the world, there would be a copy of Hafiz in every cafe, in every bookstore, in every railway carriage, in every bus station, a free gift of love, showered on all.

If I were in charge of the world, tears could flow freely at the things that are sad, ineffably, unchangeably, immutably sad.

If I were in charge of the world, you would wake up in the morning and find flowers by your pillow, and know how much I loved you.

If I were in charge of the world, we would dance, under moonlight, and sing poems to the stars.

I wrote this as part of a course I’m taking just now (Word Art Collage, an introduction to poetry therapy, with the Therapeutic Writing Institute).

I was encouraged to share it more widely by some members of the creative practice group, who got a sneek preview.

I hope you like it.

~~~

If you’d like to try this for yourself, set your timer for 7 minutes, then write starting with the prompt ‘if I were in charge of the world’. Keep repeating those words as required, and see what comes out ;-)

PS The trick lies in the use of the subjunctive.  The ‘were’ takes us into the land of what’s possible…

PPS The flowers are an extra gift.  A recent picture of snowdrops by the river bank in front of my house.

Share on Twitter

Comments

  1. Ulla Hennig
    Twitter: ullahe
    says:

    I love that part:
    “If I were in charge of the world, dragons would roam through the streets at night, lighting touchpapers of desire. Unicorns would drift by the sides of the rivers, breaking open hearts with the whiteness of their dreaming.”
    I can almost see those dragons and unicorns in front of my eyes. What a beautiful poem!

  2. Paula
    Twitter: Chemieemma
    says:

    Thank you Joanna! This is such a beautiful poem :)

  3. Conor Ebbs
    Twitter: ebbstachio
    says:

    Joanna,

    Stunning scenes, beautifully portrayed.

    This is really something.

    Conor

  4. Alina Popescu
    Twitter: alina_popescu
    says:

    I don’t know about the rest of the people out there, but after reading this poem, I vote to put you in charge of the world! It would be a far nicer place with you running it!

  5. Julie Gibbons
    Twitter: JulieGibbons
    says:

    Gosh, now it’s my turn for tears. For all of it. But especially this

    “If I were in charge of the world, men would be told how good they were, how proud, how brave, how much we value the strength that they give us and the love they show us.”

    Joanna, every time you write my life is enriched. Thank you x

  6. lucy
    Twitter: twiggylu
    says:

    I’m so glad you posted this up for everyone to see Joanna!

    My favourite line has to be -

    ‘If I were in charge of the world, you would wake up in the morning and find flowers by your pillow, and know how much I loved you.’

    Makes my heart sing….

  7. Karen Wallace
    Twitter: karenwallace
    says:

    Oh Joanna, you’ve brought tears to my eyes. this is soooo beautiful! so real! so very special (just like you!) thank you…

  8. Suzie P says:

    Wonderful piece of poetry, so glad I found your site. If you ever run for election you have one sure vote here. Totally agree with everyone working outside, my favorite place to work, on the beach with the lap top, magnificent.
    All the best
    Suzie :) )

  9. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Thank you all for your feedback, it means a great deal to me.

    Thanks also for sharing some of your favourite lines, they’re some of my favourites too, in fact reading them makes me a little teary also!

    I’m so glad I had the confidence (and encouragement) to share this, not least as some others are doing the exercise and sharing the results on their own blogs. It’s wonderful to see.

  10. Liz Nord
    Twitter: secretsofmoms
    says:

    LOVE that idea and beautifully written. Have a great weekend.

  11. catherine meyers
    Twitter: Littleironhorse
    says:

    Joanna, this is very lovely and beautifully written. What a great exercise to try! Thank you for sharing this! Catherine

  12. Glenda Childers says:

    I loved your list and look forward to participating in this creative exercise.

    fondly,
    Glenda

  13. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Thank you everyone for the feedback. It is a very simple but also powerful exercise - aren’t they always the best sort? :-) - and definitely worth a try. It’s been wonderful to read some of the versions that others have written and blogged. Lovely ripples…