Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Oh Freedom! (a poem)

As I drove home from work yesterday I pondered the war that no one wants to call a war in Afghanistan. The war that no one wants to call a war in Libya.

And I thought of those who are dying to be free.

I wondered, would I? Die to be free?

Would you?

The following poem was inspired by my thoughts of freedom and my willingness to die, or not, to know it.


Oh Freedom!
Louise Gallagher
©2011


Oh freedom!
I cry
for your touch
against my skin
leaves me
naked
at birth
where I wore you
out
like a second skin
pressing back
upon my right
to self-determination.

You were mine
given to me
at birth
by those whose blood
spilled
out
upon the fields
of battle
fighting
to the death
my right
to breathe
clear
of the constricting
garments of prejudice
and discrimination

I was born
free
my freedom
won upon the backs
of those who cried out
against
segregation, fanaticism
and
political totalitarianism
that would have torn
down
my right
to never bow
down
under the yoke
of tyranny and oppression.

Would I die for you
freedom
so that I might walk
without fear
of death
stalking
my every move
shadowed
in the night
by those who would kill
for the right
to control
my words
my thoughts
my every deed

Would I kill
for you
freedom
to know that I can
speak
freely
walk
tall
live
where I want to
go
where I want to
be
who I want.

Would I kill
for you
freedom?

Would I die
to be
free?

I wrote this poem last night when I got home from work and readied it for automatic posting this morning as I have a 7am meeting and knew I wouldn't have time to write. A sleepless night, a mind that was restless left me wide-awake at 4:30am. I did what I know to do. I got up and started reading. I ended up at Ruth's blog, "synch-ro-ni-zing" and found a fabulous post about Shelly Gill and her daughter Kye and her book, Big Blue and swimming and the power of one word. At the end of her post, Ruth has a video of Richie Havens singing Freedom. She shares his song from Cannes Film Festival. I'll share his original from Woodstock. I encourage you to link on over to Ruth's place and get inspired, and if you have a moment, listen to the amazing Richie Havens singing a song to Freedom!

And whenever you can today, Say YES!

7 comments:

trisha said...

beautiful, insightful and thoughtprovoking poem louise, freedom is every thing, but how much are we willing to do for it?

we accept so many chains for the sake of one thing or the other.

S. Etole said...

do we really know until that time comes?

nance marie said...

yes, i know.
i have a hard time of living what i believe.
and i wonder if the belief and faith and living it, is part of the dying for.

we don't have a life without war.
everyone is linked to killing.
every one is dying in the war.

Sandra Heska King said...

I've wondered the same. I take so much for granted.

Ruth said...

Louise, it's impossible to know, and yet I ask myself these questions and others all the time. It is a haunting poem. Much harder than the question "Would I die for freedom?" is "Would I kill for freedom?" I believe I would kill to save and protect a loved one, but I don't believe I would or could kill for myself. I take much inspiration from Gandhi and King and Mandella and others who fought, were not passive, but were not violent.

All of this is so anachronistic! How can there still be war? I am so frustrated I can hardly stand it.

Thank you for your link to the Yes post. When Don told me the story after school one day last week, I just glommed onto it!

Glynn said...

Your poem asks the right questions. And if we are prepared to die to be free, what exactly do we mean? Good one, Louise.

Claudia said...

would i kill for freedom - would i die to be free..? woah - big questions - not easy to answer - a thought provoking piece here..