They Don’t Want Us to Recite Our Poems


They don’t want us to recite our poems, don’t want the people to behold any signs or see any symbols and they d-mn sure don’t want us to know that the ancestors are with us. They don’t want us to recite our poems.

They fear the foreign sounds of our secret language: Hope. They thought it long dead. They are afraid of the spread of our fever how it creeps along the sense—our hearing and seeing, our awakening perception, our ability to sniff out what’s false.

The willingness to feel our most painful wound, the taste of blood on our lips. They don’t want us to recite our poems.

They are afraid of the promise of our spring, the way mother earth blushes green for us, hiding her gift in full view of both the strong and weak alike.

She has shown us fine stones in a babbling brook: love, faith, courage, tenacity, and understanding. They fear the inevitable fall of their rampaging giants.

They don’t want us to recite our poems. They want us to die with our songs unsung. They want to bury our burnt-out husks perfectly preserved shells, with sightless eyes of bitter black smoke and a mouthful of tightly clenched pearl-white teeth, trapping inside, for all eternity, the music that they desperately fear.

They don’t want us to recite our poems.


  1. Catherine Davis on March 23, 2018 at 8:30 AM

    Wow! AG, this is profound. This line is incredible : “They fear the foreign sounds of our secret language: Hope.” You are really a gifted writer. The last stanza, especially, is so full of powerful imagery and ignites all of the senses. It paints a very vivid picture. I wonder if you are also a visual artist and if you read a lot. I do not want you to die with your songs unsung. I look forward to reading more from you

  2. EBS on April 13, 2018 at 1:21 PM

    The imagery you used in this poem is beautiful. I can connect to feeling like others don’t want you to be heard. Thank you for sharing this amazing poem.

  3. truthandloveweb on May 21, 2018 at 11:43 PM

    This is amazing. I have no words. I am stunned, and inspired, and cannot thank you enough for reciting your poem. The part about our ancestors being with us reminds me of Gil Scott-Heron’s last album (he States that “our ancestors are with us all the time, they run through our veins, and if you get quiet enough, you can hear them”). Please never stop writing.

  4. Sydney on April 24, 2020 at 1:02 PM


    This was a really powerful thing to read. Every time you repeat “they don’t want us to recite our poems,” the significance of what it means to share stories feels more and more intense. Stories are white drive us—they keep us going and bring us together. The most powerful thing you can do is share your story; recite your poem. Make your voice heard.

    Thank you for your courage to speak—to sing.


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