Students create original poetry for Black History Month

Goshen High School students in Theresa Baker’s classes recently created original poems following National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s idea of taking the words of different sources and stringing them together to create new poetry.

Shadow Man

By Natane Mack

The man of shade walks down the road – alone
Not really a man – but a mere boy,
In the eyes of others he is not
Denied by the sandpaper children riding bikes in the parking lot
Free?
Meaning so strong but corrupt,
Why?
Because the fight to “freedom” once led to destruct
The sandpaper children climb over their mother’s garden wall, kicking rocks along the cobblestone driveway
A shadow approaches as dark as night even beneath the sunlight,
The sandpaper children stand in his way
In attempt to brush past-  he’s shoved to the ground,
Glanced upon in shame
Laughed at like a clown
Spat on in fury by a tall white cloud dark heart and pale skin, upon the  face in hatred grin
The shaded boy” frayed ripped and torn”
Crying – wishing he was never born
Feeling like a “caged bird”
Feeling alone in a world of hate,
A world where he’s the black sheep of the herd
A world of “never ending shade”

Sources

His “shadow shouts on a nightmare scream”
“Caged Bird” Maya Angelou
On the days I feel frayed “ fraid ripped and torn”
“Match” Jason Reynolds
I know what “the caged bird feels alas”
“Sympathy” Paul Lawrence Dunbar
Where can we find light in this “never ending shade”
“The Hills We Climb” Amanda Gorman

The Chain

By Lauren Scarzafava

They say we have everything right before us as if it is given at free will
Yet, to be a part of society is like taking a poisonous pill
You’re damned if you don’t and damned if you do
No matter what you wear, post, or find true
We are linked to the “chain” of inevitable despair
For if we don’t meet their standards the damage would need immense repair
Because my outfit is too bland and hers is promiscuous
Your outfit is just fine but post one wrong thing and the judgment will be continuous
And with that we have created a world enclosed by bars of “rage”
The essence of our individuality is locked in that “cage”
However we can still move forward and drag along the “chain”
For if we all join “together” we could break it with no pain
The person sitting next to you may live a life “that’s far from pristine”
But at the end of the day we all have the same “dream”
To be who we want and live the life we desire
If we just listened to each other our place in society wouldn’t have to be a game of survivor

Sources

MLK, Jr. “I Have a Dream.”  Stanford:The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, August 28, 1963
Angelou, Maya. “Caged Bird.” Poetry Foundation, Accessed on January 31
MLK, Jr. “I Have a Dream.”
Reynolds, Jason. “Match.”
Amanda Gorman Reads Inauguration Poem, ‘The Hill We Climb.”

Stand Tall

By Raquel Martinez

Racial injustice, roaring violently, stands tall
Whites against blacks, “we cannot turn back”
“All men are created equal”
Are these words deceitful?
A promise can not be broke
It is time to make real,
“Make real the promise of democracy”
True freedom at hand- a dream come true
“Tis sweet to dream”
Stand up, stand tall, a single spark can light up a “kingdom down”
Breath, don’t lose hope because at the end, “we will rise”

Sources

MLK, Jr. “I Have a Dream.”
Dunbar, Paul Laurence. “Dreams.”
Reynolds, Jason. “Match.”
Amanda Gorman Reads Inauguration Poem, “The Hill We Climb.”

Believing

By Syeshia Cleckley

“Believe that you are an imperial queen who can do anything that you put your mind to.”
Believe that you are on top of the world and that you can do anything no matter what people may tell you that you can’t do.
“Dream on, for the dreams are sweet”
Believe in yourself and you will be ok.
“I’m reminded to return to the truth that my little self a match my little self a cardboard cutout might could burn this whole so called kingdom down.”
Believe that no matter what is said about your skin color , that you are a version of the people who came before you.
Be the change that you want to see in the world  around you.
Look at all of the little children around you.
MLK, Jr. had a dream –
You should dream as he –
You will “be judged by the content of [your] character,” not by “the color of [your] skin”
Believe in yourself and everything will be ok,
Maybe not today
But very, very soon.

Sources

 Wheatley, Phyllis. “On Imagination”
 Dunbar, Paul Laurence. “Dreams.”
Reynolds, Jason. “Match.”
MLK, Jr. “I Have a Dream.” 

The Change that Needs to Be

By Evangelia Gronner

This country needs to experience change
Even if there is a lag in “democracy”
Doesn’t mean there is no hope for the future
The change that needs to be
In order for change to happen though
There can’t be silence because “quiet isn’t always peace”
We can’t allow the past to repeat itself
When the “cage bird” experienced the “cruel bars”
Where they sadly experience “the chains of discrimination”
And because of that we fight for…
The change that needs to be

Sources

Amanda Gorman, “The Hill We Climb.”
MLK, “I had a Dream.”
Maya Angelou, “Caged Bird.”
“Sympathy” Poetry Foundation

The Fenced-in Field of Freedom

By Andrew Svede

I like to think I live on the “dawn bright lawn”
The one with the freedom
The one with the opportunity
The one where we can be together
The one with the “table of brotherhood”
Why can’t we all?
Maybe some can’t “get in”
Maybe it is a fenced-in field
The “blunders” of the past have become our “burdens”
And now we need to carry them.

Sources

Reynolds, Jason. “Match.”
Amanda Gorman, “The Hill We Climb.”
MLK, “I had a Dream.”
Maya Angelou, “Caged Bird.”

Change is Necessary for the Future of Our Nation

By Paraskevi Lyrintzis

There needs to be change in this country
There exists people in this nation who “would shatter our nation, rather than share it”
While we are afraid “of things unknown”
We need to unite and “forge a union with purpose”
Until we are all treated and acknowledged as equal, “we can never be satisfied”
As long as we work together we can “raise this wounded world into a wondrous one”
Let us take hands with people of all cultures and colors, and create an undivided nation
In order to ensure a brighter future for our people “we must first put our differences aside”
Our fight will have been worth it when this nation is “transformed into an oasis of justice and freedom”
Our voices together as one “could burn this whole so-called kingdom down”

Sources

Reynolds, Jason. “Match.”
Amanda Gorman, “The Hill We Climb.”
MLK, “I had a Dream.”
Maya Angelou, “Caged Bird.”

Caged

By Jaiden Johnson

People with freedom run the vast hills
Under the bright sun’s warmth
The “caged” feel the cold of the darkness
They laugh as we drown in despair
“And soft captivity involves the mind”
As we sleep we are free
We “dream on” to live the life of the free
The vast hills under our feet as we feel the sun’s warmth
But as we laugh “a pain still throbs in the old”
We remember the world outside our dreams
When will this end?

Sources

Wheatley, Phyllis. “On Imagination”
Dunbar, Paul Laurence. “Dreams.”
Maya Angelou, “Caged Bird”
“Sympathy.” Poetry Foundation

Time for Change

By Angeliki Lyrintzis

It’s time to speak up during this “era of just redemption”
To finally break free from the “cruel bars” that has been inflicted on society
We, a community of “all cultures, colors, and characters” need to stand up against injustices
“Let us not wallow in the valley of despair,” but strive to make systemic changes
There will be days when we all “feel frayed and ‘fraid ripped and torn”
But let us prevail “when even breath is blade and hurts to think of thinking of breathing”
As a nation we that must acknowledge the fact “that all men are created equal”
“We will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one” that all people can benefit from
Let “the next generation, become the future” and fix the social injustices that were once enforced
As long as we work together we will achieve this dream.

Sources

Amanda Gorman, The Hill We Climb
Dunbar, Paul Laurence. “Sympathy.”
Reynolds, Jason. “Match.”
MLK “I Have a Dream”