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Leadership from a different perspective – Maurice Spillane

Naked Leader Week – 161 (w/c Monday 19 June 2006)

Leadership from a different perspective – Maurice Spillane

Maurice Spillane is a poet. He has kindly given me permission to share one of his recent poems, in his words, “about a simple event, leaving the motorway and coming home. However, each decision links to the past when other decisions had profound consequences. The journey becomes the catalyst, the catalyst itself a deviation, the deviation a link back to the journey.”

Please feel free to share with anyone whose life you touch

With love




 When you leave the M4, like all motorways,

Your choice is limited.

You can go north or south.

North is towards the hospital and the town,

The road lit up at night like a landing strip.

If you go that way, you will drive in a brake-slip

From the rush of speed, but you won’t get lost.


Going south is different.

The lights are dim and few, and going up the hill

Kills your speed. A controller flashes 50

And you slow down some more,

Then slower again before turning left,

Down a dark country lane where a man

Parks his car with the tail out as a warning,

Then the glasshouse where my lights approach

And slip around by the pin-prick hedge

As the road bends, but bends with attitude.

There are no choices between these lines.


Then accelerate and back over the M4,

Like cheating, like repeating with another chance

That announced itself some time before,

Then move to slow and fast as the road permits

Until you come to the passing places,

Where every time through here is touching fear.

But you’ve come from the motorway

And the locals are still in second gear

As you would have been this morning.

You think: this is too fast, one day I will meet myself

In this passing place and then we shall see.


But not tonight.

Sharp right and sharp left,

Right again by the village inn,

And if you are careful you will see the gap,

A gap in a hedge, easily missed, a mantilla entrance

Unfolding like tossed hair to the very few.

And now you slow right down, turn off the radio,

Ease into the ease of coming home.

The dog barks, and you wait for the latch,

The signal to step into her arms and wrap her smile

Around the open door shadows and candles,

And her soft smells that weave us into a place

Where decisions no longer seem

The same as once they had been seen.




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