March 6, 2023

A Poem to Help Your Public Speaking: Dialogue and Diction

Poems to Read Aloud , Public Speaking , Resources

The Buckley School's founder believed that all public speakers should hone their presentation skills by reading poetry out loud. We keep that worthwhile practice alive by including a poem in our magazine each month for you to read aloud. Above, Sara Teasdale, photographed four years before she received the Pulitzer Prize. 


Sara Teasdale won the Pulitzer Prize in 1918 for her poetry collection Love Songs, the first woman to receive that honor. Her work was and continues to be a source of inspiration for other artists.

Many of her poems have been set to music. The poem "There Will Come Soft Rains" inspired a short story by Ray Bradbury.

We've featured a Teasdale poem in our magazine before, and we go back to her this month for lines that invite you to experiment with how you can vary your voice to deliver dialogue. This poem is also a bit of a tongue twister, making it a good vehicle for giving your diction a workout.

Four Winds


"Four winds blowing thro' the sky,
You have seen poor maidens die,
Tell me then what I shall do
That my lover may be true."
Said the wind from out the south,
"Lay no kiss upon his mouth,"
And the wind from out the west,
"Wound the heart within his breast,"
And the wind from out the east,
"Send him empty from the feast,"
And the wind from out the north,
"In the tempest thrust him forth,
When thou art more cruel than he,
Then will Love be kind to thee."

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