Social Justice Poetry

Honoring My Grandmother | A Social Justice Poem by Shelly Blankman

I sit in the grass by my grandmother’s grave
as I do every year, leave a stone, a Jew’s way
to show respect. I feel our souls touch.

I speak to her, about family events she never saw,
great-grandchildren she never met. I tell her how
much I love her, miss her, and I leave fulfilled.

This year, I tell her I’m sorry she is forgotten…
her pain, her struggles, her terror, her arduous journey,
her American dream destroyed in a cyclone of hate,

where swastikas and slurs swarm like bees, effigies
hang like ornaments, and Nazi chants draw cheers.
This year I mourn for her and for all those like her.

I am sad for those who say get over it.
Wounds have left scabs that are being picked open.
I feel chilled, my spirit broken.

The stone of respect I left behind seems crushed
like the fragile bones of fledglings under
Nazi boots in fresh dirt.

Don’t tell me to move on. Not yet.
Don’t judge, listen.
Don’t tell me you know. Hold my hand.

I want to feel protected. I want to feel safe.
My grandmother sacrificed more than you know
so I could live unafraid. She deserves that.

I do, too.


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3 thoughts on “Honoring My Grandmother | A Social Justice Poem by Shelly Blankman

  1. Mary McCarthy

    “Don’t judge, listen” wonderful poem. All they fought for, all they survived–why are these battles to be fought over and over again??

    1. Shelly Blankman

      Thank you so much, Mary. These battles have never really ended, particularly in some areas. But those are the areas that Trump has shown the most appeal. He embraces the support of hate groups, claiming he doesn’t even know who they are (KKK? David Duke, neo-Nazis), etc. and is filling his Cabinet with people like Bannon, a known and proud white Supremacist and stands by his commitment to shut down anyone who opposes his plans to rewrite the Constitution. The battle right now is being fought because we have the battle cry stemming from the White House, and too many people anxious to follow his call. Scary for many. Pretty encouraging for people who will follow him no matter what the consequences for others. You understand that, Mary. That touches me more than you know.