A Very Long Poem

This poem is very long
So long, in fact, that your attention span
May be stretched to its very limits
But that’s okay
It’s what’s so special about poetry
See, poetry takes time
We live in a time
Call it our culture or society
It doesn’t matter to me cause neither one rhymes
A time where most people don’t want to listen
Our throats wait like matchsticks waiting to catch fire
Waiting until we can speak
No patience to listen

But this poem is long
It’s so long, in fact, that during the time of this poem
You could’ve done any number of other wonderful things
You could’ve called your father
Call your father
You could be writing a postcard right now
Write a postcard
When was the last time you wrote a postcard?
You could be outside
You’re probably not too far away from a sunrise or a sunset
Watch the sun rise
Maybe you could’ve written your own poem
A better poem
You could have played a tune or sung a song
You could have met your neighbor
And memorized their name
Memorize the name of your neighbor
You could’ve drawn a picture
(Or, at least, colored one in)
You could’ve started a book
Or finished a prayer
You could’ve talked to God
When was the last time you prayed?
Really prayed?

This is a long poem
So long, in fact, that you’ve already spent a minute with it
When was the last time you hugged a friend for a minute?
Or told them that you love them?
Tell your friends you love them

…no, I mean it, tell them

Say, I love you

Say, you make life worth living
Because that, is what friends do
Of all of the wonderful things that you could’ve done
During this very, very long poem
You could have connected
Maybe you are connecting
Maybe we’re connecting
See, I believe that the only things that really matter
In the grand scheme of life are God and people
And if people are made in the image of God
Then when you spend your time with people
It’s never wasted
And in this very long poem
I’m trying to let a poem do what a poem does:
Make things simpler
We don’t need poems to make things more complicated
We have each other for that
We need poems to remind ourselves of the things that really matter
To take time
A long time
To be alive for the sake of someone else for a single moment
Or for many moments

Cause we need each other

To hold the hands of a broken person
All you have to do is meet a person
Shake their hand
Look in their eyes

They are you

We are all broken together
But these shattered pieces of our existence don’t have to be a mess
We just have to care enough to hold our tongues sometimes
To sit and listen to a very long poem
A story of a life
The joy of a friend and the grief of friend
To hold and be held
And be quiet

So, pray
Write a postcard
Call your parents and forgive them and then thank them
Turn off the TV
Create art as best as you can
Share as much as possible, especially money
Tell someone about a very long poem you once heard
And how afterward it brought you to them

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34 thoughts on “A Very Long Poem

  1. Hi, I’m just wondering, since your FAQ says I can perform this piece, if there is another poem by you or someone else that would be good to recite before this one. I perform in something called forensics and I need my performance to be about 6 and a half to 8 minutes long and this poem runs at about 4 minutes. I think this poem is amazing, and I really look forward to performing it and (hopefully) leaving a similar impact on the audience as the one I experienced.

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  3. Hello! So i would love to use this for a project in my English class, but I need the full name of the author and if it is published or not. So if you would ever be so kind as to help me out, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much and have a lovely day!

  4. When I was in forensic my friend found this poem. So latter (which is now), I decided to look it up. My older sister says I should do it, but I think my friend is already doing it. There are others. Well one thing I must say is that u did a great job, and I mean it. No matter how long it took to make this, it was worth it. Everything I said came from the heart. ❤️

  5. I am doing the poem A Very Long Poem. Though I need the authors original name. I want to give full credit for him/she. Right now I am saying by unknown. My poem is on Friday and I would like to give credit to the person. Can I have the real name of the author?

  6. Hi! Wondering the same thing. My son would like to recite this in English class. Is it published?


  7. Hi Marty my name is Nicky I’m wanting to know if this poem has been published so I can use it for a speech meet competition

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  9. I’m a tad bit confused >:/ does this piece belong to you or has an author ever used this poem for her book?

  10. I love this poem so much that I am going to memorize and recite it for my English class. Its going to be a challenge but I really want to share this piece of art with my fellow classmates! Thanks for the inspiring words! 🙂

  11. Someone in my forensics class read this poem and after I heard it I had to look it up. This poem is not only moving but I also 100% agree with this poem. The power of the small things in life aren’t really that small, they’ve just been seen on the wrong side of the binoculars. You got that message across simply and profoundly, and not enough people have heard it. Keep writing and being amazing. 🙂

  12. I googled ‘long poem’ and found this one. I really like it! I’m not such a fan of poetry…I’d rather read a novel…but this was simple and to the point. I have to read a poem as part of the Toastmasters manual that I am working in, and will be reading this one at my Toastmasters club meeting. I will be searching around your site for more poetry that I might like. Thank you for showing me that not all poetry needs to be picked apart with tweezers ‘to find meaning’ like we did in high school English class!

  13. WOW!!!! you really impressed me Anthem Poet but, your name is Marty S. Dalton ? i ask because I bring it to my school for a HW and they ask me the author THANKS!!!!

  14. Hello Mr. Schoenleber! I’m a part of my highschool speech team and I am in the poetry event. Looking around, I have found your poem to be exceedingly amazing on so many levels and I would love to be able to compete with it! Your flow of words and emotions just stood out to me the moment I began reading it. However, one of the rules is that we must use poems that are published. Is it possible that you have a published version of this, if this is a copywrited/published poem of yours? If not, is there any way that you could publish it? If not, that’s perfectly fine! I was merely wondering if there was any way I could use this poem for competitions.

    It’s very well done, and thank you very much!

  15. This really resonated with me! Such a powerful and meaningful message. Simple yet very deep, encouraging, and convicting. Would you mind if I read this in my oral interpretation class? We are assigned to perform a piece of poetry, and I believe this would fit myself well. Don’t worry, I will make clear reference to you, the author.

  16. 382 words so far, im gradually doing it over the course of a week or so. Here is what ive got so far…

    We are grains of sand compared to the world
    and the world is a spec compared to the universe
    but this does not mean that people are worthless
    everyone has their own unique personality
    each person is good at something at least
    so here we are, not listening, but rather tell others
    saying words that are not as appreciated
    you and I are not so different in the eye of the beholder
    and it takes time to see the differences and similarities
    their isn’t appreciation in the knowledge of personality
    Change is what some people fear
    Yet it is the fear itself that changes them
    It may take an unknown amount of time to happen
    yet one thing is for certain
    everyone is affect differently by change
    when was the last time something changed in your life
    either it be forcefully or willingly
    what affect did it have on you, how much did your life change
    no matter the action, each time it happens the in consequence
    yet consequence itself can sound bad to most people
    when in fact, it is only the reactions to such actions
    these consequences inevitably change who you are
    no matter how fast or slow, the change is there
    Changes can happen in un-expecting ways
    it could be from meeting some new to a global craze
    so the majority play along like sheep
    following and copying the actions of their more popular peers
    it is the uncommon few who strike for much greater
    to strike and achieve their personal goals
    these are not the Sheppard’s of the sheep
    they are not handed fame and fortune on a silver platter
    these people work hard at what they are good at
    and improve with what they’re not
    Mixed within this, there are people who are lost
    neither being the sheep nor the Sheppard in society
    they proceed through life without knowing what to do
    once they know what they want, they can excel
    then and only then will they decide what to be
    the sheep, the Sheppard, or the in-between successor
    I am not one to judge, or to tell you how to live your life
    although I can listen, and suggest solutions
    you will find your own way through life
    no matter the amount of help you receive

  17. Amazing c: really inspiring. I myself am attepting to write a 1000 word poem, that right.. 1000 words (bring on the caffine and furious thought processes)

  18. Hi Marty. This is the first poem I saw from you. I am currently doing a homework on poetry and you inspire me to write my own poems. You really helped and I am really thankful. I hope to see other poems that you created.You are one of the best poets I saw, keep up your good work.

  19. Amazing, I just…Marty you really inspire with every poem you write. Actually I started to take poetry more serious when I heard one of your poems a while back. This by far is my favorite poem. It really touches me everytime I read it. I would like to interview you for a Communication proyect. It would be great, also, if I could use this poem for the magazine of the same proyect. Slam Poetry isn’t very popular in Mexico, I would like, at least to open a door for my classmates. Keep writing.
    – Mai.
    Psdt.: It would be a blast if you send me an e-mail with an answer.

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