Social Justice Poetry

speaking truth to power poems

Wanda | A Social Justice Poem by Roy Pullam

Your control
Ran cool and deep
As you spoke
To power
They wanted you
To scrap and bow
As others
Of your skin
Color did
How they
Resented your opinions
That turned
Their necks red
But emptied your spleen
Words
Black men
Swung for
Years before
But words
A free
Black woman
Confirmed by right
Stiffened in resolve
By injustice
You would not accept
I smiled
At your courage
How hot the truth
The unexpected scald
That helped them
Find their place

Should the Subaltern Speak… | A Social Justice Poem by Krushna Chandra Mishra

On seeing them speaking
after years looking askance at them
and thinking they could for eternity make
bread out of lies made of the best yarns
culled from garments they were never
given to wear; they saw clad
and speaking in demanding tones
those very people whose custodians
they had become, and sensing fear
from those multitudes whom they
bullied and misrepresented for long;
now in search of new rhetoric,
these vultures and jackals are out
to find unity they now find lost
in misleading the world and
now having nowhere to
be safely led into for ease
of business and of living.

Silenced | A Poem by Guy Farmer

As has been the unfortunate
But not inevitable story since
The dawn of civilization,
A significant portion of
The populace is unable or unwilling
To feel another’s plight,
Help someone other than themselves,
Thus complicating the entire concept of
Building an equitable society,
Where people work together with
The understanding that each of their parts
Contributes to a greater whole
Benefiting everyone rather than
Wildly enriching a few opportunists.
As always, they are driven by a fervent
Belief that government should get out of the way,
Let them do whatever they want,
Leave the victims to fend for themselves,
Sever the social contract,
Throw the common good into the fire,
Allow unrestrained exploitation by the
Most aggressive and powerful in a
Violent coliseum that only exists when
The countervailing voice is silenced.

Leaven for Their Bread | A Social Justice Poem by G. Louis Heath

Write in rhyme or free verse, we are an enemy of
the state, even in free states, like England and the
USA. The power elite may read our poems to add
diversion to routines, moving levers of vast power.
But, down deep, their minds are ill-at-ease with pesky
poets who question all. They smile at us, as we stab
pens deep beneath the surface, to shine the light of
dissident minds unfettered. But trust me, they do not
smile inside. Look closely at the velvet glove on the
iron fist. In angry times unraveling, we may feel its
wrath.

Unwelcome as our best poems are,
it is our duty to write,
and write, and write some more.
We know that whole societies
can go insane
without our leaven in their bread.