Anthony Langford


Quiet herself

She is not herself
They say
She is saying things
She would not normally say
They excuse her for it
For the time being at least
If they thought about it a little more
They would know
That she can only ever be herself
That these thoughts exist already
Her defences are down
I guarantee
That she has said similar before
If not here
Somewhere else
She can only ever be herself
And we know this about ourselves
We may lose our control
The guard leaves the post
And things are said
And done
But it’s always there
A mammoth soup bowl
Of words and ideas and feelings
That was accidentally
Sneezed out
You can only ever be yourself
Things will shift around
Over the years
From here to there
Always present
And you know it
Like I do
Whether we acknowledge it
On the surface
Doesn’t matter
In the end
The ingredients were placed there
In the beginning
So the balance wasn’t quite right
This time around
And that will change
Once more
But at least now we know
Who we’re dealing with.


Anthony Langford grew up in the country but now lives in Sydney with his baby daughter and three step children. He has had numerous works published, including in the Verandah 25th Anniversary Edition. His novella Bottomless River is out now through Ginninderra Press. Stories, poems and video poems at


  1. Brilliant poem very thought provoking and accurate we can only ever be ourselves in truth

  2. Anthony’s poem yet again hits the mark about feelings and change within ones own self. It’s such a relief to have these thoughts realised by another, it makes me feel included and not alone.

  3. ken greenhill

    that momement you reveal, apologize for, react or hint. you have already been categorized,too late….the veneer of respectibility is lost ,a contribution to an essay of oppinion deemed contrite, look down, clasp your hands…..the silence.

  4. Nature Vs nurture? At least that’s what I got from this. As always with your writing Anthony, it definitely leaves you something to think on. Great work and well done!

  5. This hits a note with me. Thanks Anthony for “forcing” me to once in a while do something I do not normally do. Read poetry.

  6. As always, you eloquently express fundamental truths about human nature in a way that sets my brainwaves sailing in new directions. Nicely done, Anthony.

  7. Dominic Kirwan

    This is different. Do people essentially change with time or just in outbursts within a social context? Maybe not? Love the last lines. Poignant.

  8. Thank you all for your wonderful comments. I really appreciate it. 🙂

  9. Graham Clements

    Very much enjoyed the poem. Particularly liked the following lines.

    We may lose our control
    The guard leaves the post

    A mammoth soup bowl
    Of words and ideas and feelings
    That was accidentally
    Sneezed out

    Most people keep their true feelings to themselves about others. But is that a bad thing? We all would love to know what other people think of us, but that is really none of our business.

    I thought of the father with dementia in Jonathon Franzen’s The Corrections while reading it. He was struggling to remember all the lies he had told his family.

  10. Thank you Graham. All thoughts taken. I loved The Corrections.

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