Social Justice Poetry

Social Justice Poetry

Our Oleander | A Social Justice Poem by Dale Champlin

—all this hatred

For you: Oleander, poisonous leader,
all the clutter of your deranged mind
twittering, littering the internet
mindless of kindness—stockpiling rocks of hatred
ignorant of the past, of beauty, of knowledge,
misogynist, philanderer. Stone in darkness
under the thunder of propellers
deaf to the chunka-chunka of war
inured to songs of unrelieved cacophony,
worshiper of shallow thought and greed.
We are your glass house
while you throw stone after stone.
We shatter but some will pick up your stones
and throw from the inside.
You cower stone-hearted in your stockpile
Your orange seed follicles scatter clamor,
discord, dissonance, and uproar.
What place means love to you?
Where is your kindness?
Have you forgotten,
or did you never know?

Grass Grows on Grease | A Social Justice Poem by G. Louis Heath

In these fields in the shadow of a butte,
Tufts of grass march in the gleaming mud.

You can lose a shoe in the slippery muck.
Be forewarned, tourist. If you lose one,

Abandon it. Freeing leather from the tight
And desperate embrace of greasy soil will

Ruin your trip abroad. Feet slew and slip
Across these fields of muck guarded by a

Sparse army of grass. The grass corps are
Survivors of the flower-strewn corpse-pyre.

Verdant blades march across the leaking,
Slippery hummocks to grow on the grease.

How We Need You, Mother Jones | A Social Justice Poem by Roy Pullam

She came to the mountains
An Irish lass
Familiar with tragedy
Prepped by the loss
Of her children
By the loss
Of her husband
Pained by the sight
Of barefooted children
Their bellies empty
Their future
The dark mouth
That swallowed their youth
That broke them down
That stole hope
Always in debt
Afraid for the injury
That would take away
The little
They could earn
She saw their plight
The Blacks
The Europeans
The hill people
All with the common fate
All less than the mules
So much easier
To replace
Her words
Charged greater
Than dynamite
Lifting the eyes
Lifting the spirit
Straightening the spine
Of defeated people
Going to jail
Raising hell
How the mine owner hated her
Feared her
Trying to break her
But trials
And tainted judges
Stoked more
Her determination
The love
Of union members
Beleaguered but unbroken
More determined
To break the bondage
And they won
Children free
To go school
Their limbs intact
Free of the tyrants
Who paid little
But expected more
And how we need her now
When jobs
Go south
When wages stay low
When governors
And legislators
Rob men of living wages
I hear in my mind
Her admonition
“Pray for the dead
And raise hell
For the living”
He cannot hide
Behind her skirt
But we can rise
To the challenge
Organize for the fight
This is our country
We have to take
It back