My good friend Stephen James Smith kicked off his UK & Ireland tour last night in the Pepper Cannister church here in Dublin, and he was gracious enough to give me a support slot. We had a quick chat before I performed my Sine Metu poem, followed by my final piece from Three Men Talking About Things They Kinda Know About. It was a gorgeous evening of music and poetry, with a really special vibe. If you can catch the show on its current tour I highly recommend it.
Back in 2016 I was commissioned by the friendly folks at Jameson Whiskey to write a piece of performance poetry centred around the latin phrase Sine Metu. Sine Metu is the Jameson Family motto and appears on all of their bottles. It means “Without Fear” and at the time, their advertising campaigns were using Sine Metu prominently, with the tagline “Fear a little less, live a little more”. So, my brief was to write a poem with that as my guiding light. Personally I love these kind of gigs, because you are hired with an implicit trust and appreciation of your craft & artform, and I often find that the slightly restrictive thematic guide rails force me to think more creatively about unlocking the poem. I also want to write an excellent poem that I can really stand over and not just phone it in. So I worked hard on the commisioned piece, and the end result was the poem above, which I was very proud of. The folks at Jameson clearly loved it too and the poem took me on an epic journey. I was asked to perform it live at the annual Pernod Ricard conference on an island off the coast of France, as well as a series of other high profile Jameson events back in Ireland over the following months. Then finally, it was captured for posterity at the old Bow Street Distillery a day before major renovations began. As I watch it back, it takes on fresh meaning in that setting. I love how poetry can do that sometimes. Now, this is not my absolute best performance of the poem (there’s even an obvious mistake, see if you can spot it) but that doesn’t matter, it’s still a decent rendition. And I’m so glad to have a document of this creative milestone. I still like the poem a lot. Hope you like it too.