I dreamt I saw him in the queue,
A friend I thought had long since died;
But we embraced so warmly then;
It seemed a dream we’d been apart.

And looking at him, then I knew
Some different spirit was his guide;
Before, as living, false as men,
He’d never known his own true heart.

But now his name was really True.
I wept as I held him, tongue-tied,
For once again I had my friend,
Not this time ending, but to start.


James Sale, FRSA is a leading expert on motivation, and the creator and licensor of Motivational Maps worldwide. James has been writing poetry for over 40 years and has seven collections of poems published, including most recently, Inside the Whale, his metaphor for being in hospital and surviving cancer, which afflicted him in 2011. He can be found at www.jamessale.co.uk and contacted at james@motivational maps.com. He is the winner of Second Prize in the Society’s 2015 Competition

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9 Responses

  1. Joseph Charles MacKenzie

    This is, indeed, the tight, word-by-word economy which reminds us of the best. Kipling in his smaller forms, certainly Joseph Mary Plunkett, and even Longfellow. It is that ease with which the rhymes cut the sense. This is what we must aim for.

    • James Sale

      Thanks Joseph – everyone wants to be appreciated for what they do, and your specific comment on my use of rhyme pleases me not only because it is what I set out to do, but also because only an expert could possibly see/hear it.

      • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

        While the expert might be able to articulate what he sees, be always perfectly assured, dear James, that the very humblest of this world will receive that impression of beauty, that sensation of euphony, that sense of easy fluidity, which you have attained with aught of technique and years of study.

        If only jewelers among themselves are able to discourse on the chemistry of stones and the various techniques of cutting, polishing, and setting them, think not that the eye of the least instructed man on earth would not delight in their sparkle and brilliance. For, everyone sees, and everyone hears, even if not everyone can speak.

        And consider: What power is the poet’s if he should mingle the splendor of his confections with the light of truth! Is this not the spirit of the ancient art we defend and continue?

      • James Sale

        Joseph, you are so right; and I expressed myself badly. Yes, people can and should experience beauty directly and the poet aims to enable that. What I meant to say was that in some way most people don’t become aware of the artifice because the beauty speaks for itself. It’s a great actor or actress: they key thing in their role is not to observe that they are acting – it appears to be just who they are. When we become aware they are acting, our pleasure diminishes, and at that point we rate them a lesser actor. But of course the professionals are always aware of the artifice; indeed, study other great actors to add to their own repertoire. So with the poem: we want to appear seamless, but another poet will always ask: how did he/she do that? I think that’s what I meant – and your point is exactly right – the humblest ‘get it’. My email address is James@motivationalmaps.com. It would be good to communicate with you directly.

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