Social Justice Poetry

perseverance poems

No Island of Escape | A Social Justice Poem by G. Louis Heath

There is no island on the rivers, nor in
The lakes or seas, or in abstruse clouds

To escape the plagues of humankind.
All bear the black dog on their backs

As shadow nibbles mountain, plain, and
Valley to our doors. Yes, the megrims

Bite deep but we must carry on against
The plagues that beset us. The way is

Hard, strewn with mighty windfalls and
Boulders, on a high, torturous route, each

Step precarious. We hunger for the meadow,
Open to all. There we can enfold one unto

Another, build bridges of spirit and act, to
Deny the evil days of barbarous annihilation.

Compass | A Social Justice Poem by Diane Woodward Dorff

sometimes it is best not to raise your eyes
to the horizon to the world above and beyond
and far to the east and west and north and south
sometimes it is best to keep your eyes straight ahead
to your brothers and sisters and all the children
growing up around you

for I cannot travel far
and I am only a symbol a cypher
to those who hold the reins
who grip the steering wheel
but this is my world our world
and I will welcome all
and I will hold on tight

Nevertheless, She Persisted | A Social Justice Poem by Tricia Knoll

Rosa, Malala, Coretta, Michelle, Winona, Angela
saw the barriers, jumped the hurdles or stood in front of them
saying I’m not jumping any more. I’m standing here, a woman,

who learned from my mother and her mother and her mother before her
that to persist is the same as resist. To go the long way, to step up and out, go high where they go low. I’m standing here, a woman,

to say the words I must say.

November 8th, 2016 | A Social Justice Poem by Diane Woodward Dorff

That Tuesday,
I imagined the Wednesday world.
Light seeping into my eyes.
Moisture, condensation,
arriving on the ground.
Dry and yellow leaves
surprised with dew.

With wind,
and the crystal sounds of shattering.
Dew like tears of relief
for women and for men;
a pencil underlining the name of Hillary.

Surely there would have been threats
from the twisted voice of Trump,
the prince of clamoring confusion and pain.

Acid to be neutralized in laboratories carefully.

Surely there would have been worries still;
and along with Hamlet, thoughts of
“all the natural shocks the flesh is heir to.”

Surely the earth would have continued
to be full of depletion, decay, as the world
must do as we use it up.

But instead thoughts of Dylan Thomas;
“Dawn breaks behind the eyes;
From poles of skull and toe the windy blood
Slides like a sea”

Tears come still and dew and humming light.
And though caught in fear, in sorrow
for a season, seasons always turn toward spring
and night to morning.

And my spirit ascending with words of Maya Angelou,
I’ll claim my place:

“The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
Of things unknown but longed for still
And his tune is heard on the distant hill for
The caged bird sings of freedom.”

“A free bird leaps on the back
Of the wind and floats downstream
Till the current ends and dips his wing
In the orange suns rays
And dares to claim the sky.”