Introduction

The poem, “Speak Gently” or “Your Space”, written by David Bates is a poem where the poet requests his readers to speak in a gentle and kind way. The nine stanzas of the poem tell us how and why we should speak with others.

Stanza 1

Speak gently! - It is better far
To rule by love, than fear
Speak gently - let not harsh words mar
The good we might do here!

The poet starts the poem by setting the central theme of the poem in the opening line, which is to speak gently. The poet says the kind words must be used while speaking to others. In order to rule people it is better to rule by love than fear. Love always wins whereas fear results in catastrophe. He says that one should use mild words instead of harsh or unkind words. Harsh words should not find a place in our life as it spoils all the good one does on earth.

Stanza 2

Speak gently! - Love doth whisper low
The vows that true hearts bind;
And gently Friendship's accents flow;
Affection's voice is kind.

In the second stanza, the poet requests the readers to speak in a gentle and kind voice that true hearts bind. He says not to raise the voice to prove that you love each other. One should always be gentle towards friends and proclaim their love and affection, slowly and quietly. By raising the voice, true emotion might get lost. By reducing the voice, feelings will come from the heart as Affection’s voice is kind.

Stanza 3

Speak gently to the little child!
Its love be sure to gain;
Teach it in accents soft and mild:-
It may not long remain.

In the third stanza, the poet says one should talk kindly to a little child. Children learn from the elders around them so it’s very important to teach them to be gentle and caring. By talking gently to them will make sure to gain their love. In the childhood, to be soft and mild should be taught so that they can cherish these qualities for a long time.

Stanza 4

Speak gently to the young, for they
Will have enough to bear
Pass through this life as best they may,
"T is full of anxious care!

In the fourth stanza, the poet conveys to the readers that kind words should be used to two talk to those who are in their youth. Young people already have enough to bear in their life as they are neither seen as adults not treated as children. They’re at an age where they want to explore. In order to understand their anxious care, love and affection is needed to talk to them.

Stanza 5

Speak gently to the aged one,
Grieve not the care-worn heart;
The sands of life are nearly run,
Let such in peace depart!

In the fifth stanza, the poet goes on to say that one should talk politely to the aged one. Aged people have undergone a lot of problems and revelations in their life. They have undergone grief and there is no need to worn them out more. In the final years of their life all they need is attention and love. One should talk to them like a child, in a soft and cajoling manner to let them in peace depart.

Stanza 6

Speak gently, kindly, to the poor;
Let no harsh tone be heard;
They have enough they must endure,
Without an unkind word!

In the sixth stanza, the poet urges the reader to be kind and gentle towards the poor. He says that the poor people are already suffering in this unkind world and there is no need to further trouble them. One should not speak to them in a harsh tone or even use unkind words. They are in this world to find an honest way of living life and feed their families. One should treat them with respect and kindness.

Stanza 7

Speak gently to the erring - know,
They may have toiled in vain;
Perchance unkindness made them so;
Oh, win them back again!

In the seventh stanza, the poet also makes an allusion to speak gently to those who have erred, meaning the prisoners. He says perhaps being treated badly made them become so and in order to win them back, one must be kind and gentle with them. Kindness can win their hearts and make them a better person.

Stanza 8

Speak gently! - He who gave his life
To bend man's stubborn will,
When elements were in fierce strife,
Said to them, 'Peace, be still.'

In the eighth stanza, the poet evokes the image of God and requests the readers to speak kindly and gently to He gave his life. The poet says that God has always helped man and even to bend man’s stubborn well. It is only because of God that all the elements of the earth are living in peace with each other. The poet says that God should be treated with utmost respect and kindness from the humans.    

Stanza 9

Speak gently! - 'tis a little thing
Dropped in the heart's deep well;
The good, the joy, which it may bring,
Eternity shall tell.

In the final stanza, the poet evokes the image of a deep well, which is a reflection of one’s own self. The poet says that our hearts must be like a deep well. We should be able to talk to ourselves kindly and only uphold the happiness and joy. He says optimism and kindness are the only way a man can be happy in life and in eternity.

Conclusion

The poem highlights the virtues of kindness and generosity that one must bestow upon each other. The poem urges not only the youngsters, but also everyone to speak and behave in a gentle manner with others. The poet establishes patience and kindness to be important in a person’s life in order to strive and live happily.