Social Justice Poetry

social inequality poems

The Center of Town | A Social Justice Poem by Guy Farmer

The hard-working
Son of a sharecropper,
He leaves the sweltering
Heat of his small shack
And walks down a
Dirt road toward the
Center of town,
Where all the
Tidy buildings beckon
And well-appointed citizens
Stroll through clean,
Tree-lined streets,
Nodding to each other,
And where he’s never
Felt quite welcome.
He remembers the stories
His parents told him
When he was a child.

At the Wall | A Social Justice Poem by Roy Pullam

The wall stands somber
On that windy morning
Gales blowing rain
Into my face
I look at the names
Finding a school chum
A poor boy
His fate sealed
By lack of opportunity
Not unlike
Other 1A card carriers
Unable to afford college
To find a doctor
Who would shield them
From the draft
He believed
Willing to wear
The green
To fight in a land
Beyond his knowledge
One day in America
Experiencing the good life
The next
Landing in a strange world
A land of constant
Four months
Of wading paddies
Four months of ambushes
Intense firefights
Then the pajama-clad phantoms
A land mine
In a clearing
A fatal step
And his life ended
Not the homecoming
We wished for him
But we gathered
Just the same
To hear the minister
Searching for an answer
Then sharing memories
Good times
With the boy
We knew
I took the paper
Placing it
Against the wall
Dragging the pencil
Across the paper
His name rising
On the page
Bold letters
I have read
Over and over
Remembering each time
The futility of Vietnam

Market Survey | A Social Justice Poem by Ankita Anand

The rich write books
About how they got out of their rags
And that’s fair enough.
But is there a market
For other stories of miracle?
Stories by those who have the remains of the day
And yet remain.
Of those who live a little above, below, around the lines of poverty–
Measured and cut out for them by others
At a table with chairs made by, not for, them–
And yet manage to have lives.
Can that blurb produce a wow,
Inspire the reader to pick up the book?
Or do we predict more of a shrug, because the story is ordinary, because “they’re used to it”?

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Favor | A Social Justice Poem by Guy Farmer

You can’t build a thriving,
Egalitarian, democratic society
If you set it up to favor
Only one group at the expense of
All others. Once you’ve given
Every advantage to one segment of
The population, it’s disingenuous
To purport that, because one or two
Of the non-chosen ones succeed,
Equal opportunity actually exists;
Those are the exceptions to the
System you’ve created to make sure
Only certain people prosper.