Lady Liberty

By M.V.

Lady Liberty must be sleep
Or maybe she turned her back
Lady Liberty must be sleep
Or maybe she doesn’t care
Lady Liberty must be sleep
Or maybe she’s in on it too
Lady Liberty must be sleep
Because there’s millions of people in a cage
Lady Liberty must be sleep
Because innocents are dying everyday
Lady Liberty must be sleep
Because those guilty remain free
Lady Liberty must be sleep
Or maybe she’s racist too
Lady Liberty must be sleep
Or maybe she just can’t see
Lady Liberty must be sleep
Or maybe she’s just a disguise
Lady Liberty must be sleep
Because we’re still waiting for justice
Lady Liberty must be sleep
Because we’re focused on the wrong things
Lady Liberty must be sleep
Because no one follows her values
Lady Liberty must be sleep

Trayvon, Tamir, Michael, Eric, Breonna, etc
The list is long, now Ahmaud and George

May you rest in peace
With Lady Liberty

14 Comments

  1. Merritt Reese on December 21, 2020 at 12:57 PM

    MV,
    This was a very beautiful poem. I really enjoyed reading it and felt like it left me with a lot of different things to think about. I especially loved the lines “Lady Liberty must be sleep / Because we’re still waiting for justice / Lady Liberty must be sleep / Because we’re focused on the wrong things”
    These lines in particular really spoke to me. You are a beautiful writer and I loved this poem!

  2. Joyce on December 21, 2020 at 3:14 PM

    Dear MV,

    This is a powerful tribute to those who have been victims of injustice, the people you name at the end of your poem. Your frustration really comes through and is very impactful and relatable. I relate to your emotions and message — it really seems like there is a lack of justice these days, when so many are being unfairly hurt. I’m not sure if this is what you were going for, but I think that Lady Liberty could be a metaphor for the U.S. as a country and its government, as you say “WE’RE focused on the wrong things” and “maybe she’s in on it too.” I think many people in our country neglect those who are suffering and sometimes our government contributes and causes that suffering. Like you say, we’re putting people in cages, which is simply inhumane. I think the repetition of “Lady Liberty must be sleep” is so important, as it reminds me of how people have been desensitized to the horrible things happening in the world, on the news — they just ignore it, like they’re asleep. This is such an important poem and I hope that people read it and feel compelled to right the injustices happening in our society. Thank you for this message!

    Sincerely,
    Joyce

  3. Maya S. on December 26, 2020 at 11:53 AM

    MV, thank you for this poem! The repetition of “Lady Liberty must be sleep” every other line really hammers in the message of the grave injustices happening right now. This poem really resonated with me because I often feel so overwhelmed by and frustrated with the disconnect between American ideals of liberty and justice for all and our unjust “justice” system, policing, and the general narrative of whose lives truly matter. Your exploration of all of the reasons this could be happening illustrates this tension so well. Keep writing!

    Best,
    Maya

  4. Kathy on December 28, 2020 at 4:36 PM

    This poem brings up feelings of sadness and frustration. It’s so automatic to want to jump in and solve problems, but sometimes we need to feel the feelings first. Thank you for writing this powerful poem and reminding us of that.

  5. Cameron on December 30, 2020 at 3:25 PM

    MV,

    This is such a great poem! I love the repetition of “Lady Liberty must sleep”—I think it really makes you think about all the things we should be doing to help those who, in a country that loves its freedom, are not free. I also like how you used Lady Liberty as a symbol. We are always told that The Statue of Liberty is a sign of hope and protection, and you do a good job exposing what it really symbols. Either she has been sleeping all this time or there’s something else doing on and she doesn’t believe that everyone should have the freedom and protections they deserve. I hope that Lady Liberty will wake up soon. Thank you for writing such a beautiful, thought-provoking poem.

    -Cameron

  6. Megan Gaines on January 4, 2021 at 8:19 AM

    Hi MV,

    Thank you so much for sharing your poem. I really appreciated how the repetition of the line “Lady Liberty must be asleep” really drove home your point about the repeated and widespread injustice facing the United States right now. Reading it over and over makes you think about how many things people are turning a blind eye to and how it goes against what people claim are the ideals of our country. This poem is very powerful and really moved me. Thank you again for sharing, I hope you write more soon.

    Sincerely,
    Megan

  7. Katherine on January 5, 2021 at 12:40 PM

    MV,
    This is so powerful. The repetition of “Lady Liberty must be sleep” combined with the author’s different interpretations of what that means–is she not paying attention? Is she racist?–is so effective.
    Thank you for a really thought-provoking poem.
    Katherine

  8. sarah on January 6, 2021 at 2:38 PM

    MV,

    As others have said, this poem brings up a lot of feelings and frustrations in regards to our current political climate, some issues which have plagued our nation for hundreds of years. The biggest takeaway I got from this is the dichotomy between non-racist and anti-racist. We know the impact of Lady Liberty’s sleep. But when we think about the motivation or intention behind it, this is where we disagree. Is she intentionally racist? Unknowingly ignorant? Is she “in on it” and somehow benefiting? Or is she just apathetic? Does it matter if the impact is the same? So while it is easy for people to say they “aren’t racist,” what really matters is if they are actively trying to change the systems and institutions that are causing harm. Being neutral and a bystander is not helpful in anyways. This poem made me more aware of the ways in which I can help bring justice to those who have suffered and who have died. Your words hold the weight and power to inspire change.

    Sincerely,
    Sarah

  9. Joseph on January 7, 2021 at 3:54 PM

    Hi MV,

    Thank you for sharing this poem. I think your repetition of the first line followed by all the injustices happening today builds up powerfully. I also liked the last line because it was thought provoking and powerful. It’s an important reminder of the responsibility of creating a just society and how the nation as a whole falls short of that ideal. I hope you will write more powerful poetry that memorializes people and reminds people of the causes that are most important.

    Best,
    Joseph

  10. Jordan on January 18, 2021 at 10:30 AM

    Hi MV,
    Thanks for sharing this poem. Your repetition of “Lady Liberty must be sleep,” emphasizes the fact that all of this injustice you are discussing is taking place in our own country, and unfortunately, there are many today who are still in search of justice. However, we can honor those who lost their lives due to injustice by telling their stories and keeping their names alive, which is exactly what you did in this poem. Thank you so much for sharing this powerful poem, and I hope that you will continue to write and share your words with others!

    Best wishes,
    Jordan

  11. Sarah on January 18, 2021 at 6:52 PM

    Hi MV!

    I thought that this poem was beautifully written! I just wanted to say thank you for sharing this poem with all of us because it certainly made me think about whats going on in our country today. Within this past year we have seen acts of violence within our own country, where it undermined the basic human rights that we are endowed with. Your poem really made me question how great of a country ours truly is, if we keep letting history repeat itself. You have such a vast vocabulary, and your imagery skills are quite unmatched. Please keep up the good work!!

    Best,
    Sarah

  12. Grace on January 20, 2021 at 11:00 AM

    Hi,
    This poem should really be everywhere for everyone to read. It is so powerful and so true. There are severely deep civil issues in our country that continue to go on unaddressed. Your word choice is powerful and so moving. Keep writing and always use your voice.
    Best Wishes,
    Grace

  13. Bridget on January 21, 2021 at 2:35 PM

    MV

    Wow! This was an extremely powerful poem. I had goosebumps the whole time I was reading it. You are an excellent writer and do a fantastic job conveying the injustices in our country. I thought it was profound when you said “Lady Liberty must be sleep / Or maybe she’s in on it too.” This brings to light the fact that the United States was founded on racism and injustice. I appreciated the end of the poem where you acknowledged victims of racism, this was a powerful way to conclude. You have a gift, I encourage you to keep writing. Thank you for sharing your poem.

  14. vcorpuzisa on January 26, 2021 at 5:32 PM

    This poem was written so beautifully. I think that it is important what MV did here because of everything that went on this year with Black Lives Matter. It is a moving message…where is Lady Liberty during this time? In my head, the question was, where is freedom? Or does freedom only apply to those who have privilege? I think that the message of this poem is so deep and is able to reach so many readers.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The poets featured here are currently incarcerated, and many of them are in federal prisons far from home. Your feedback is a valuable source of motivation and connection to the outside community. Post your comments, feedback, and encouragement in the space below the poem. Messages will be passed on directly to the author. Comments may not appear immediately on the site, as our team processes them to mail to the poets.