E-book to help you research, write, revise, and get ready to publish in all genres

Saturday, January 23, 2021

The Voice of Protest Poetry


My first awareness of protest poetry came during the Vietnam era when poets like Robert Bly had much to say. However, a quick search on the Internet shows a long history of poets voicing their concerns, which pretty much describes a protest poem.  


Protest poetry arises whenever poets address their concerns.


This might occur in lines subtly drawn or in a voice so loud, it’s like a slap meant to get a hysterical person to calm down.


As I’m writing this, our country – perhaps the whole world – seems to be operating on hysteria! Lies and innuendoes leave us confounded, unable to confront or correct whatever troubles us with reasoning and a rational response, rather than a mouth-jerk reaction.


Like everyone else, I’m anxious to see if COVID will disappear anytime soon and if our schools, shops, and churches will survive the resulting rifts and isolation. What concerns me more, however, is how wonderful, God-loving people can be more intent on hanging onto their pride and prejudices, so that nothing gets accomplished, and no healing begins.


We can take peace or make it.            


These troubling thoughts brought the first line of the following poem to mind this morning, so I wrote it down and the rest soon followed – a pattern you might follow too. i.e.


Write down whatever comes to your mind as you consider what most concerns you.


Let flow what you most want to say. 

Read aloud then go back later to clarify or revise.


Since I am especially weary of simplistic statements that fail to include valid views unlike one’s own, and I feel drained by the endless speculations about who’s lying, here’s my protest poem:


Where Does Truth lie?


Has the peace of the Lord been broken

into pieces?

Can we hear His voice best

if we’re protesting

or murmuring about our fate?


Is it too late to bind

the spirit of deception?

What will happen

if we wait for someone else

to say, “I’m wrong”?

A house divided against itself

cannot stand long,

nor can a church or nation.


Remember? God warns

our country will be judged

by how we treat our widows

and our orphans,

but which is worse –

slaughtering unborn babies

or leaving homeless children

and broken people

on the street?


Can the earth repair itself

without our help?


No easy answers have arisen.


Making peace with people

and political stances will be hard.


May God release us

from this wrath-filled prison.


May Holy Spirit be

our guide and gracious guard.


©2021, Mary Harwell Sayler





No comments:

Post a Comment