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Are you a poet? And do you know it?

Are you a secret creative genius?

Do you have a favorite justice-related poem that keeps you going in tough times?

Does our name count as a one-word poem?

Does our name count as a one-word poem?

Please share those words of inspiration with the rest of the OneJustice network!  The March “social media for social justice” contest asks for your justice-related poems!

Everyone who submits a poem that somehow relates to justice, love, equality, activism – or whatever justice means to YOU – before March 8 will be entered to win a super cool OneJustice water bottle.  And the justice connection can be loose – remember, this is all about poetry, so of course its open to YOUR interpretation!

Extra points for submitting a poem that you wrote.  Extra EXTRA points for posting a video of you reading it aloud.  (Yep, we’re throwing down the gauntlet now!  Are you fired up yet?)  Sadly, we’re not that creative, but we do have a favorite justice poem to share to start things off – “To Be of Use” by Marge Piercy.  Check it out below.

You can post your poem(s) to any of our social media sites: facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, pinterest, or in the comments to this post.  Happy poem posting!


To Be of Use

by Marge Piercy

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who stand in the line and haul in their places,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

5 responses to “Are you a poet? And do you know it?

  1. Julia R. Wilson March 8, 2013 at 6:09 am

    That Justice is a blind goddess
    Is a thing to which we black are wise:
    Her bandage hides two festering sores
    That once perhaps were eyes.
    — Langston Hughes

  2. Linda Kim March 8, 2013 at 8:38 am

    I, Too, Sing America
    Langston Hughes

    I, too, sing America.

    I am the darker brother.
    They send me to eat in the kitchen
    When company comes,
    But I laugh,
    And eat well,
    And grow strong.

    I’ll be at the table
    When company comes.
    Nobody’ll dare
    Say to me,
    “Eat in the kitchen,”

    They’ll see how beautiful I am
    And be ashamed–

    I, too, am America.

  3. Stephen D. March 8, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Equality by Maya Angelou

    You declare you see me dimly
    through a glass which will not shine,
    though I stand before you boldly,
    trim in rank and making time.

    You do own to hear me faintly
    as a whisper out of range,
    while my drums beat out the message
    and the rhythms never change.

    Equality, and I will be free.
    Equality, and I will be free.

    You announce my ways are wanton,
    that I fly from man to man,
    but if I’m just a shadow to you,
    could you ever understand?

    We have lived a painful history,
    we know the shameful past,
    but I keep on marching forward,
    and you keep on coming last.

    Equality, and I will be free.
    Equality, and I will be free.

    Take the blinders from your vision,
    take the padding from your ears,
    and confess you’ve heard me crying,
    and admit you’ve seen my tears.

    Hear the tempo so compelling,
    hear the blood throb through my veins.
    Yes, my drums are beating nightly,
    and the rhythms never change.

    Equality, and I will be free.
    Equality, and I will be free.

  4. OneJustice Team March 10, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Thank you, Stephen! Powerful poem – thank you for sharing it with the OneJustice network!

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