There is nothing more uplifting than a word or two of great poetry to accompany a well presented speech. And even better… often, a carefully selected uplifting piece of verse from one of the great poets will instantly help you to write your speech. Because, not only are the great poets inspiring to a listener but they are also inspiring to a writer too.
And it goes without saying, an aptly quoted line or two from one of the great poets will always add sparkle to your speech. But let me say it again… beware of doggerel.
The word itself goes back to 1277 (as a surname, 1249). Wikipedia tells us that the root word probably from dog, applied to bad poetry perhaps with a suggestion of puppyish clumsiness, or being only fit for dogs
Doggerel in a speech, such as a retirement speech, can have just about everyone cringing with embarrassment on your behalf. The real problem with doggerel is that most of your listeners will be too polite to tell you to your face how terrible it is. They will make purring noises like cats to avoid actually putting words to how they feel. But beware – because behind your back they may whisper the dreaded ‘D’ word to each other… ‘doggerel’.
The free dictionary on the web describes doggerel or rhyming ‘jingles’ as: “Crudely or irregularly fashioned verse, often of a humorous or burlesque nature.” And that’s something that’s best avoided in a speech
The wonderful source of all answers on the web: “answers.com” describes doggerel as: “clumsy verse, usually monotonously rhymed, rhythmically awkward, and often shallow in sentiment, as in greetings cards.”
Yuck! It’s that last bit: “often shallow in sentiment” that rings a loud warning bell. Because who would want their carefully prepared and delivered speech to be described as “clumsy verse – shallow in sentiment”?
Greatly loved poets like Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Robert Burns, Rudyard Kipling and others from the poetic hall of fame always get the green light. They evoke memories and a fondness for the speaker whenever they are quoted.
Even if a listener doesn’t particularly like the line or the verse you have selected and quoted, they will recognise it for what it is and you will get all the brownie points going for being associated with one of the great poets.
That’s why it’s so important for you to remember, when you are quoting from one of the great poets, to give the name of the poet. For example:
Ladies and gentlemen… whenever I think of my darling daughter I think of those immortal lines written by the poet, Lord Byron…
“She walks in beauty, like the night Of cloudless climes and starry skies;”
And today, on her wedding day I have never seen her more beautiful.
Do you get the idea?
Short quotations from great poets are what make truly great memories. Stay with the great poets and your speech will be always be uplifted – doggerel verse can all too often pull you down.