The Temperaments – A dramatic Monologue in 4 parts

Chalk house

Before reading my tongue-in-cheek rendition of the temperaments, you might like to read a little about what they are:

The Temperaments

I am going to write the best poem about temperaments ever made.
It will be so good that it will be advertised around the entire Steiner community.
People all round the world will gain new insights due to the genius ways in which I present each one.
I will have a website and a TV show.
I will have my own digital radio station from which I will transmit all the latest updates as our understanding grows.
I will interview leading lights in the Steiner community who will share their intuitions and experiences.
The mainstream world will pick it up and we will transform the global education system.
Politicians from every continent will wake up to the Wisdom of Waldorf and begin institutional changes.
Grass-roots organisations will grow and from the ground up we will create the changes that we all want to see in the world.
Not just education, but politics and the arts too will undergo a revolution of the heart, the body and the mind.
Humanity will united in one voice – for Peace and Love!

I have been thinking about this poem for 25 days, 16 hours and 30 minutes.

I have meditated on each temperament.

I listened very carefully to everything that was said during the lectures and have very detailed notes from which to draw inspiration.

I am building up to a very expressive piece of art.

I have analysed myself in depth and know exactly my own strengths and weaknesses and have begun to analyse those around me too.

Trying to ascertain which category or combination of categories each of my family members and friends best fits into.

My wife tells me I’m just navel gazing but I think she is just too superficial to really appreciate the depths of my inner life.

She has never really understood me.

No-one has.

I feel so alone.

Bloody poem.

I have thought very carefully about this task.
I have ordered all my notes into a carefully curated collection so I know exactly where to find the relevant parts for each temperament.
I am going to take each one in turn and deal with it methodically until I get through them all.
When the going gets tough I will persevere.
I might start with some definitions.
There’s no need to wax lyrical too much, I want to present the facts as they are.
The facts will, of course, speak for themselves, I just need to structure them in the right way to get my message across.
I really want to impress the course leaders.
I hope they like it.
I will make a start as soon as I’ve had a nice cup of tea.
And maybe some cake.

I am going to have so much fun writing this poem about the temperaments!
I am going to use such colourful language to describe each one.
Maybe I’ll find a friend of each type and chat to them to get some ideas.
Or maybe I’ll paint a picture. That will be more artistic.
Maybe I should paint 4 pictures – one for each,
Or I could use different media: sculpture, watercolour, pen and ink, collage.
I could make a mix tape and use genres of music and do a dance: A military band, salsa, classical and ummm Radiohead.
Oh no! I’ve left it to the last day and I haven’t decided what to do!!!
It’s fine, I’ll blag it, no-one will ever know
I’ll charm them with my quick wit and cheeky smile
They’ll forgive me cos I’m lovely!


This was an extremely fun piece to produce. It is a sort of meta-cognitive piece analysing the act of creating a poem about the temperaments from the perspective of each temperament.

I began with the choleric because that is the one that most closely aligns my own temperament and I really see within myself the big-headed grandiosity of the character I have created.

The melancholic comes second. I also have a lot of melancholic in myself so I did not have to stray too far to feel into this temperament.

The phlegmatic comes third. This is the temperament which I have least personal connection with but I have lots of phlegmatics close to me in my life and was able to draw on one of my brother’s persona’s particularly for this one.

Last comes Sanguine, which, again is a strong force in my own personality, although I have hammed it up considerably for affect.

One thing that was really interesting about writing this poem was how much I did identify with each character/temperament. Even within the phlegmatic which is my least strong temperament I found lots that resonated with me. And each character does have lines that actually went through my own head as I was in the creative gnosis (or panic) which comes immediately before putting pen to paper.

I am not wholly any particular temperament, however, so each one has been exaggerated, partly for comedic affect, but also to really distil the essence of that temperament. If it was a poem just out of my own mix of temperaments it my melancholic would have dampened my choleric and he would not have been so ambitious; my sanguine would have raised up my melancholic so he would not have been so depressed; my choleric would have got my phlegmatic to break some rules and take more risks and my phlegmatic would have brought a bit of order into my Sanguine’s thoughts. All of which would have made for a much less interesting poem.

Writing it the way that I have has really allowed me to go into each temperament in turn and take the thought processes I found there to the extreme and have a bit of fun with it.

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