Painting Words of Hope

As I have said many times before, poetry is painting pictures with words.  Like any art, the more ones practices the better one gets.  Often, my students will tell me that it is too difficult to write poetry; however, I remind them that everything in life can be difficult, until we learn to make it our own.

So, this past month, I had some of my ESOL students write haiku...the results were so beautiful that I created a newsletter with the pictures they used as prompts along side the haiku they wrote.  Needless to say, they were impressed with the fact that they could write something good enough to go into print.  So, begins their personal journeys into creative writing!

This is the poem I wrote for my students - my heroes - who struggle against so many odds to learn English.

Safe Haven
They come beaten and battered by the storm 
of dictatorial lies and systematic cruelty, 
looking for the promised asylum offered by 
the great colossus mother, who stands 
firmly astride the path of freedom. 

They come carrying lives wrapped in pain - 
packed away in fear and folded into memories, 
hoping for a second-chance life in the land 
freedom and justice crafted for those who 
believed in democratic dreams. 

They come to jobs left empty by privilege 
to wash and scrub the plates of entitlement, 
mowing lawns generated by wealth – 
caring for the forgotten, 
until, like those who came before them, 
following freedom’s dream, 
they are proudly wrapped in the mantle 
of star-striped promises and opportunity. 

© 2014 Linda M. Rhinehart Neas 

May we all remember when we were new to this land of opportunity and the struggles that we encountered and may we be brave enough to help those new to those struggles, giving them a hand to raise them up, rather than push them down.



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