On First Hearing Himself Read His Poem Aloud

by Gary Hardaway

The words are better than this man's
reading of them, surely.

In his inexpert mouth they drone
mechanically along without the lilt
or cadence of an Irishman
or Englishman or German.

The words are surely better than this
and deserve better, spoken aloud.

Surely these fine words,
so crisp in black on white,
deserve a crisper voice than this
to send them through the air

toward anonymous ear drums
 which deserve a deeper resonance

than this defeated and terrified voice
which does not serve
such fine, crisp, resonant words
so starkly beautiful, black on white,

and written with obvious
high regard for words.