Crushed by the System


We fought the fight for freedom.
Stood strong to support equal rights
Generously given for the next generations
All lost when we let go the light.

Further our fathers have faded
So sons now stand in quicksand
Growing in the gutter of gall
Losing their lives to the land.

Wise women our daughters and wives
Sewn with the spirit of strength
Gilded with goodness and greatness
Lending love in unmeasurable length.

Fore ordain, foreseen, foreshadowed
Soaring songs to the stars that listen
Guardians of the gangling ganders
You will not be crushed by the system.


  1. Derek H. on September 16, 2020 at 1:55 PM

    Your reference to history is so powerful, keep writing!

    • Adam Gaydos on October 9, 2020 at 10:27 AM

      This poem brings me back to my AP History class. My teacher would tell us about how there was no real progress made in this country and it even stems to today. The riots have brought a lot of attention to this issue in our country but there still seems to be racism throughout the country still. However, people will not let this go. The poem’s end is the most powerful statement because it expresses the never-ending fight that people have for this movement. They will not stop until real change happens. This poem is meant to inspire people and open their eyes to what is really going on.

  2. Abbey Knope on September 16, 2020 at 6:18 PM

    This poem, to me, represents such strength and empowerment. I feel the determination in the author to rise above the inherent difficulties that our country’s judicial and criminal justice system places on people of color. I believe the author is showing how resilient they are, even if they have made mistakes in the past. You are strong, talented, and important!

  3. Joshua Redd on September 16, 2020 at 8:56 PM

    This poem is so beautiful. The freedom we are seeking is, often, sometimes so illusory. These iterations of freedom is what help me materialize whatever that freedom might be. Thank you so much for this beautiful work.

  4. Steven on September 17, 2020 at 1:25 AM

    Hi TG. I really liked the part of your poem where you talk about quicksand. I found that to be a very apt metaphor for being tried down or trapped and unable to do anything. It seems to me like you were using the metaphor of quicksand to describe “the system”. Quicksand is very fitting in this sense because ti drags you down slowly. You have an amazing sense of using literary devices to convey thoughts and feelings. The sentence in your last stanza “soaring songs to the stars that listen” really painted a beautiful and hopeful image in my head. Those words evoked a very beautiful scene and sentiments. You are an amazing writer and did and awesome job on this poem!

  5. Joshua Redd on September 19, 2020 at 8:46 PM

    I love how this poem, essentially, is rallying call for Black resistance. The “system”, as a haunting and omnipresent entity, is constantly under siege (rightfully) by Black bodies. It has been, and continues to be destabilized, by Black people. It makes me wonder: What is the responsibility we have (in our liberation narratives) for our incarcerated brothers and sisters?

  6. Emma on September 21, 2020 at 9:10 AM

    TG, you do a really beautiful job here of writing about the need to continue these battles for freedom and equal rights. I love the way you talk about the generation before us, our generation, and the generation after. This is really powerful and I want to thank you for sharing!

  7. armani739 on September 21, 2020 at 6:38 PM

    Hi TG,

    This was beautifully written. I always enjoy rhyming poetry and you did that exceptionally well. I relate to this poem because I am too a young black man in America. We are living in a fight that has been existing long before us yet we persevere.

    Your last part seems to acknowledge something much greater than our current experience and it gives me and many others hope. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Angela on September 29, 2020 at 7:27 PM

    This feels like something that students could analyze in a literature class it’s so well written. I also appreciate that it seems to end on a somewhat uplifting note.

  9. Abigail Cross on September 29, 2020 at 7:46 PM

    I really like this poem for several reasons. First, the message you send is incredibly powerful. Second, the words and phrases you use to send this message are descriptive and sophisticated. I hope you continue to write and send your message to others.

  10. Caity on October 2, 2020 at 10:10 AM


    You are such a masterful poet. This reminds me of old poems, and epics like the Odyssey or passages from the Bible, even. It reads so beautifully. The line “Further our fathers have faded,” makes strong use of alliteration (with the repetition of the letter “F”) and the end line “You will not be crushed by the system,” is so powerful too. I love how it rhymes with “listen;” somehow it just ends the poem perfectly, and leaves you wanting more. I hope you will keep writing and sharing.

    Caity, Washington DC

  11. Maya S. on October 4, 2020 at 12:30 PM

    TG, this is so beautifully written! The alliteration and rhyme drew me into the words and your powerful message. Thank you for sharing your perspective on such an important topic with so much strength. I especially love the lines, “Wise women our daughters and wives/Sewn with the spirit of strength” and “Soaring songs to the stars that listen.” I re-read this poem multiple times and even read it out-loud because I wanted to keep absorbing the words. Please keep writing! Best, Maya

  12. Willow on October 4, 2020 at 2:16 PM

    TG, I loved this poem. I think it speaks to a lot of people and the message will definitely resonate. keep writing you are very talented!

  13. Piper on October 5, 2020 at 12:51 PM

    This had such a lovely cadence when I read it I felt like I was floating while I read it. For some reason, the line “Wise women our daughters and wives/Sewn with the spirit of strength” really hit me. I think we forget how many and how much systems have changed. Our mothers and grandmothers lived more when capitalism was growing rather than full-blown like it is now, and made more than they bought. My grandmother made all of her children’s clothes, and my grandfather built things when he needed them. Their efforts are “sewn” into our personal histories, just as they gave us strength.

  14. Leigha Mozingo on October 6, 2020 at 10:39 PM

    Hi TG,
    I absolutely loved your poem! While reading I got goosebumps across my arms. Your references are so powerful and overall extremely inspiring. Please, never stop writing, your voice deserves to be heard!

  15. Joyce on October 9, 2020 at 2:09 PM

    Dear TG,

    This is a great poem. As a woman myself, who was deeply influenced and inspired by my own mother and grandmother, I especially loved your stanza about women with strength, goodness, greatness, and immeasurable love. Your poem is a wonderful way to honor the men and women and people who struggle to provide a better future to coming generations. Simultaneously, you reveal a hopelessness that we’re facing and feeling in society now — I assume from the condition our country is in — when you talk about letting go of the light and losing lives to the land. Still, your last sentence is so inspiring and despite the challenges we are facing, you express a sense of hope. By the way, the rhyming you use throughout the poem is great and contributes to the poem flowing well. Amazing work!

    Best wishes,

  16. kassidilenae on October 13, 2020 at 9:38 AM


    Thank you for taking the time to write this! I love the imagery you create with the line, “Further our fathers have faded, So sons now stand in quicksand.” I also admire the alliteration in the last stanza. I would emphasize your closing line, “You will not be crushed by the system.” Keep using your words for good!


  17. Kennedi on October 13, 2020 at 10:54 PM

    This poem is written very well. I like how you make sure that everyone is aware of the problems and are able to express your opinion so well. Keep up the good work and do not stop writing!

  18. Maddie on October 19, 2020 at 2:24 PM

    TG, this poem is profound and well-written. I enjoy your use of alliteration; it really makes this poem sound quite pleasant while also addressing the gravity of the fight for freedom. Although the first two stanzas are heavy, the third stanza leads into a message of hope, which is powerful. Thank you for sharing!

  19. Dyemone on October 20, 2020 at 11:38 AM

    Hey TG,
    I would like to say first, that your poem is beautifully written. Your writing literally spoke to me. My favorite part of this poem was when you wrote about fathers and how they faded, leaving their sons into quicksand. This part is also sad but it spoke truth. I felt like you put your experiences and emotions into your writing. I also loved the way you wrote about women. It shows that you have a lot of respect for them. I would say overall this poem was painfully truthful and beautiful. Thank you for writing this. I hope that you continue to write in the future.

  20. Cameron on October 23, 2020 at 8:40 PM

    TG, I can really feel the emotion that you are creating in this poem—it is so powerful. Even though you set up a very real and upsetting scene of being crushed and lost, I really like how you end the piece with: “you will not be crushed by the system.” That line in itself gave me so much hope, and I’m sure it has the same affect on others too. Additionally, while I find the entire poem a very impressive piece of literature, I am particularly impressed with the alliteration. It really does a good job filling my mind with so many images! I can’t wait to read more of your work.

  21. Logan on November 5, 2020 at 3:31 PM

    Hey man, I really like it. You’ve got a talent with words TG, and I encourage you to keep writing more poems like this one.

  22. Hannah on November 11, 2020 at 2:58 PM

    TG, this is a beautiful and uplifting poem. Your metaphor of feeling stuck in quicksand is something so many others can identify with. It’s a terrible feeling to feel stuck and like you cannot escape. I love that you end your poem on such a strong and comforting message for others. You are great at conveying strength through your writing. I hope to read more poems by you!

  23. Adrian Kocinski on November 11, 2020 at 3:05 PM

    This poem is beautifully written with such a great message. In our country, it is unfortunately common for minorities to be erased and crushed by inequality. I know what that’s like, and I am so inspired by your words directly opposing the system.

  24. Phuong Nguyen on November 11, 2020 at 3:22 PM

    I love the powerful message that this poem inspires. The diction, the stanza and sentence structures, they echo the frustration with injustices in the world. Stay strong with us, and keep up the good work!

  25. Sabryn Ferchichi on December 16, 2020 at 5:19 PM


    I always enjoy poems about racial injustice and oppression because although everyone’s individual experiences differ, I always see a similar theme that inevitably should bring us all together. This is also a great poem leading towards history because a lot of the detail links with past events, but also links with modern. “History repeating itself.” I see this because you mention fathers, but then sons and how this burden has been given to next generations. Great job.

  26. Nick P on February 23, 2021 at 4:16 PM

    TG, this is great and really insightful. You’re literary talent is shines in this poem through your command of the language you use, and the emotional power you put behind it. Keep on.

  27. carlygallanter on February 23, 2021 at 4:53 PM

    Hi TG,
    I love this poem. I wish that something like this wouldn’t make me think of my country and all of the injustices that exist. I wish I could read this and think it is about the “world” or another country. It is wrong to be patriotic if reading a poem like this reminds me of my home country. Anyways, the poem was beautifully written and I loved it. Absolutely made me reflect! Thank you

  28. AK on February 24, 2021 at 11:09 PM

    Thank you for sharing your piece. It was beautifully written, transcending the bounds of freedom through history up until today. The line “history repeating itself” linked the struggles of the past to the feats of the future. Especially with the challenges we face today your piece opened up a new perspective to how much we’ve fought as we are “sewn with strength” to only be crushed by a system that stands upon a foundation to belittle us. My question for you is, what was your inspiration behind the post? How would you alter the language within the lines to connect past to history more. An example is your line “sewn with the spirit the strength” representing the past, maybe adding in a line or metaphor to today with going to the streets to sing our cries, or something to that nature. Thank you again for sharing!

  29. Ayzhiana Basallo on April 2, 2021 at 2:59 PM

    This poem is very powerful. It shows many examples of being crushed by the system and why it is still ongoing to this day. I like how short it is and to the point it is. Thank you for sharing.

  30. Julia Rinaldi on April 11, 2021 at 8:30 PM


    The title of your poem instantly pulled me in. How you talk about the racial injustices and racial profiling is upsetting, to think that this hasn’t stopped within the system. We are supposed to be the land of the free, and your opening line was how you are fighting for your freedom. It saddens me, and I hope that one day everyone will come together and speak out for those incarcerated. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

    Julia Rinaldi

  31. Anna on April 16, 2021 at 4:42 PM

    I truly enjoyed your poem. You really brought light racial injustice. Keep writing!

  32. Julia on November 7, 2021 at 4:59 PM

    This poem is powerful and relatable for most people. Thank you for sharing your story in such a graceful and meaningful way. I think that it is a great reminder of the struggles people face with inequalitiy and the effects of it. Thank you for sharing and I hope to read more of your work.

  33. Katie on December 17, 2021 at 11:54 PM

    There is a lot of strength and empowerment in this poem. I think it is very interesting to bring up the past and show it as being good for adding strength and fight to someone. The detail in history makes it even more powerful and the meaning felt even more.

  34. JB on April 20, 2022 at 12:51 PM

    Hey! Thank you so much for sharing this powerful poem. It is not only inspiring but a strong personal message filled with emotion that unfortunately many can relate to. This poem was also full of imagery and descriptions that help the reader feel the emotion. I hope to read more of your work.

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