Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Freedom


“Free societies...are societies in motion, and with motion comes tension, dissent, friction. Free people strike sparks, and those sparks are the best evidence 
of freedom's existence.” 
― Salman Rushdie

“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” 
― Audre Lorde

“I believe that there will be ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those who do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the system of exploitation. I believe that there will be that kind of clash, but I don't think it will be based on the color of the skin...” 
― Malcolm X

Midweek Motif ~ Freedom

A cause for celebration.  
For individuals, societies, and countries,

I act as if I am free since I meet my obligations and don't step on others' freedoms.  But how free am I? And how do I know I am free?

In her Complete Persepolis, Marjane Satrapiwrites:

The regime had understood that one person 

leaving her house while asking herself:
'Are my trousers long enough?'
'Is my veil in place?'
'Can my make-up be seen?'
'Are they going to whip me?'

No longer asks herself:                                         

'Where is my freedom of thought?'
'Where is my freedom of speech?'
'My life, is it livable?'
'What's going on in the political prisons?'  

Your Challenge: Can a poem contain your sense of freedom?  Find a way ~ through content and form ~ to describe an instance or ideal of freedom.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul. 

(engraved in the USA Statue of Liberty)
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The courage to let go of the door, the handle.
The courage to shed the familiar walls whose very
stains and leaks are comfortable as the little moles
of the upper arm; stains that recall a feast,
a child’s naughtiness, a loud blattering storm
that slapped the roof hard, pouring through.
The courage to abandon the graves dug into the hill,
the small bones of children and the brittle bones
of the old whose marrow hunger had stolen;
the courage to desert the tree planted and only
begun to bear; the riverside where promises were
shaped; the street where their empty pots were broken.
. . . . 
(Read the rest HERE at the Poetry Foundation.)

For those who are new to Poets United: 
  • Post your freedom poem on your site, and then link it here.
  • Share only original and new work written for this challenge. 
  • If you use a picture include its link.  
  • Please leave a comment here and visit and comment on our poems.

(Next week Sumana's Midweek Motif will be Night.)


  1. Thank you for the prompt - and here's to a week of freedom of thought and words..

    1. Amen to that! Good to see you, Jae Rose.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you. I hope I got your topic right for next week! And that Mr. Linky behaves!

    2. everything is perfect...i was so glad to see old Mr. Linky today :)

    3. Whew! I removed the "preview" which means that you won't see it on your draft screen but I believe it still appears on the blog's preview. I'll wait until the weekend to add it. I will be out of town next week at a big art and family event I've posted all over face book. I'm glad you are doing the second Wednesday prompt! Thank you.

  3. Hello everyone,

    Hope you're all doing well this week :D Its time for midweek motif once again! Sharing my poem "Ode to Freedom" hope you guys like it :D

    Lots of love,

    1. Thank you, Sanaa, for your love and cheer and beautiful ODE.

  4. Replies
    1. Your poem is such a gift! Thank you!

  5. Let me thank you all again for your great comments on Sherry and my chat yesterday. I am humbled and very moved by your words.

    I'll be back in a few hours. I'm heading out to the hospital to draw some blood in case of need during a surgery later this month. To have this opportunity is a freedom, I believe.

    1. Yes, we are fortunate to have heath care available, for certain. I do hope all goes well, Susan. Keep us posted!

    2. I'm back! One pint down and one to go. It was a pleasant experience.

  6. Thanks for this all encompassing prompt . Looking forward to reading the poems. I read yours yesterday and it inspired mine.
    Congratulations on your interview with Sherry. Good luck with the surgery later this month.

    1. Thank you, Rall. And thank you for all the good wishes too. That picture inspired me!

  7. Thank you for the prompt, very timely and interesting in light of current events.

    1. And with July 4th looming here in the USA!

  8. Happy Independence Day to all USA readers!
    Thanks for the prompt. Mine is odd... this week ;-)

  9. Good morning, in Canada it is Canada Day. The red maple leaf is everywhere. I look forward to reading your thoughts on freedom.

  10. Glad to be back after a hiatus. I'll be around shortly!

  11. Loved the prompt :)
    Was busy in exams, so was not present in the last 2 weeks. Missed reading you all. And I enjoyed a lot writing for this prompt :)

    1. I hear the freedom wish of a person tired from studying! I hope you did well.

  12. Happy Canada Day & Independence day for those celebrating in the US this weekend. Looking forward to reading some awesome poetry.

    1. Thank you, True. We have some awesome poetry to show, including yours!

  13. I am also back after a hiatus. I shared weekly from 2011 to 2013, but left when too many people failed to reciprocate comments. The past two weeks, including today, have been a nice change from that earlier time. Thank you everyone.

    1. Interesting. Glad you are enjoying. Your name is not familiar. Did you post under the same name?

    2. I looked for an email to message you, but not finding one I'll write here. I think you are new here and I want to welcome you. Thank you for writing a new poem. On Sundays we have a pantry to post your best work from any time. On Wednesdays, we put up our Midweek motif with multiple points of inspiration--and that requires a new poem in relationship to the prompt. I may have missed the point of "8" so I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt this week! And I want to thank you for reading other poems as well. That's the spirit of our community. You'll see that on other days of the week we feature great reading: interviews, chats and poems to share. Enjoy.

    3. Yes, Susan, I know he is #8...but he mentioned posting here between 2011 and 2013, and the name Lowe was not familiar to me, so I wondered if during those years he had posted under another name.

    4. Mary: I posted with a different name back then.

      Susan: "8" is about achieving freedom from all stress. Others' comments added a layer about the dangers of bowing.

    5. Thanks for the info, Lowe.

  14. Interesting prompt, Susan! Took me a while to come up with an approach. You always challenge us. Smiles.

  15. So complex and much like water.
    I will be late responding as I am on the road and wifi is frail.

    1. OK, Leslie! BTW I fixed your link to go to the poem you wrote for us. It was opening up to the "Broken Pot."

  16. Your post here was truly BEAUTIFUL - I tried to make mine contentious. Will be doing the rounds later today.

    1. Hello Forest! Thank you. I cannot find how to comment on your blog so I will here: I'm familiar with the struggle in Nicaragua and the USA part in it. A Friend, witnessing for peace, was held captive for awhile and reported back about it months before it hit the news. Your poem is incredibly moving to me. I do not know about the feminist wave of your battle--that surprised me--but the unity is what won liberty. What a cost! Your poem is a welcome history and artistic tribute.

  17. Thank u Susan for appreciation and motif Freedom was very interesting.

  18. Susan,

    I'm late posting my poem about freedom, but it was in my mind and on my list all week; time was not free for me to write before today! An emotive subject...