Courage brings her to the stage,
facing a cynical crowd in action,

sneers and jeers, barely hidden
by those so quick to judge.

Words from the dying, anguished
impoverished Fantine, fill the hall,

(Les Miserable’s I Dreamed a Dream
this selection amuses the sceptical).

Beginning low and rising, softness
and strength, a voice of honey treacle

filling the void, thrilling the ears,
sticking it to the mocking fools

who can’t see past the appearance,
plain and simple.

But the power in her vocals
and the history in her heart,

capture and carry the people
all the way to the finale, tear-filled

and tremulous, foundations shifting,
a bin full of misplaced judgements.

The rebuke is made, the faces red,
the victory for talent and everywoman,

assessed by weight for age, makeup
and looks, as done for horses.

The audience stands for the ovation.
A wake-up is calling.


The poem is written about Susan Boyle’s performance on Britain’s Got Talent 2009. Nigel Featherstone did a blog post recently about the video. I hadn’t seen the performance (though I knew about Boyle) – so thanks Nigel 🙂 . It is a must see video.

25 thoughts on “Susan Boyle (a modern parable)

  1. Bravo! As this thought provoking poem-stroy tells, in the era when the DVD replaced vinyl and the voice was trumped by breast enhancement, glimmers of brilliance can still bypass the dumbing down of music by corporate marketing.

  2. I remember seeing it and it was one of the few times I got legitimate goosebumps. Her career since then is not my style of music but I cannot deny the brilliance of this interpretation. Bravo, Susan. Bravo!

    1. Yes, Selma – bravo Susan. I love her first cd, but I don’t think the second one is my cup of tea – not that I have heard it, just what others have said – maybe I shouldn’t prejudge – haha).

  3. What an intriguing source for poetry — Susan Boyle’s gutsy singing and musical story.

    I especially like the line

    Beginning low and rising, softness
    and strength, a voice of honey treacle

    with the play upon “skeptical” in the couplet above it.

    1. I was listening to her cd yesterday, and it struck me how much her voice is like some sort of golden syrup, liquid toffee type thing 🙂 and the whole Susan Boyle story is just asking for a poem or play etc., – a traditional story arc (fairy tale if you wish) that happens to be real.

  4. she is amazing, in every way, as a songstress, as an artist, as a human being, and magnificently gifted. so incredible the transformation of preconceived attitudes that occurred when her beautiful voice rang out. hers is a remarkable story, and unforgettable

  5. I must admit that I’m kind of prejudiced when it comes to the way an artist looks. When I see someone that’s got perfect teeth, hair, nails, lips, the whole package resembling something from a glossy fashion magazine, I can’t help but feel they’re about as superficial as an ad for dog food.

  6. Susan Boyle has profoundly changed the business and how we’ve strayed from quality to superficiality. I love this poem Gabe and I hope you send it to her because I’m sure Susan would be damn touched by your words. hugs 🙂

      1. Happy Mother’s Day to you too Gabe, you are a wonderful Mum to your two angels and an inspiration to so many people. HUGS

  7. Well drawn, Gabrielle – “misplaced judgements”, indeed. Your poem gets to the heart poisonous cr@ppy celebrity culture – “A wake-up is calling” – brilliant denouement

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