Roger McDonald - For better or for verse

For better or for verse

Guest post by Roger McDonald

Roger is a poet and business biographer and a graduate of our recent Is there a TED-style talk in you? program. This is a guest post on his experience and the impact it’s had. So very grateful to have you on the Slow School journey with us Roger.

Check out Roger’s talk and this stunning reflective poem below.

Roger McDonald

(Thank you to Rob Moorman and Hunting with Pixels for our excellent social videography.)

You know how duty works. Your partner’s involved in an activity—maybe not your cup of tea—but you have to go along to the finale.

That’s how it was for me in October 2014 and the first Slow School of Business’s Is There a TED-like Talk in You? program.

My expectations were low, but I was prepared to be generous. Instead, a gift of astounding proportions rewarded me out of the blue.

Eighteen people gave their all. I was hooked. I wanted in. And when a new program came up in February/March this year, I was among the first to sign.

I have a confession.

Arrogance is a heartless tart. It steals your esteem, goes on a blinder, and abuses you when the funds run out.

As a journalist, editor, writer and speaker of more than 30 years, I knew I could do this program with my eyes and ears closed and only my mouth to do the work.

I was wrong.

The five weeks learning to speak properly taught me almost as much as all my professional training ever has.

What’s more, I witnessed my thirteen fellow participants’ fear transform to confidence, the ordinary mutate to the sublime, and cockiness (mine) slim to humility.

Women cried. Men fumbled. A boy soared. All returned, magnetized by teachers who knew that teaching is listening, sharing, coaxing, and refining.

I re-wrote my talk nine times, and was still editing it in the peaceful yard of a nearby church minutes before our transformation.

My TED-like talk was on the power of poetry. My thirteen colleagues—through shared courage, conviction and performance—helped me write this:



I’ve Googled fourteen but without success.

Collectively nounless is how we must remain,

a slow school number, in our namelessness;

united, though, in triumph after pain.

We weren’t quite the Charge of the Light Brigade

talking to glory as the canon roared.

But every one of you, my colleagues, played

your part in seeing thought and speech restored.

So many tales of courage, stories, songs.

all ages, genders, walks of life came through.

High standards too—the very least was bronze,

all striving for the honest and the true.

I’m privileged to have seen you grow through this

and with you, achieve my own catharsis.

Roger G McDonald

Share this: