Poem: “Quien no Sabe?”

Quien no Sabe?

Quien no sabe que la tierra pesa?
Quien no sabe que el fuego quema?
Todos saben que hay cosas que lastiman
Pero hay quienes les conocen que el encierro
Es un sufrimiento del que no se puede escapar,
Hay quienes no saben lo que es reír por no llorar
Hay muchos que desconocen el sufrimiento

Nadie sabe lo que es sufrir
Hasta que la experiencia les toca vivir

Quien no sabe que la tierra pesa?
Quien no sabe que el fuego quema?
El ser un sobreviviente del encierro basta
Para ser un testigo del sufrimiento
Basta la experiencia para ver que hasta que no has estado presente
No conoces lo que es sufrir
Puedes escuchar historias, leer artículos, imaginar,
Tratar de estar en los zapatos de el que ha sufrido
No es lo mismo
La experiencia lo cambia todo

Who Does Not Know?

Who does not know that earth is heavy?
Who does not know that fire burns?
Everyone knows that there are some things that hurt
But there are some that know that imprisonment
Is a suffering one can not escape
There are some that know what it is to laugh so you don’t cry
There are many who are unaware of suffering

No one knows what suffering is
Until they live the experience

Who does not know that earth is heavy?
Who does not know that fire burns?
Surviving imprisonment is enough
To make you a witness to suffering
Enough experience to see that until you have not been present
You don’t know what it means to suffer
You can listen to stories, read articles, imagine,
Try to be in the shoes of one who has suffered
It’s not the same
Experience changes everything


  1. Mindy on November 3, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    Thank you for sharing this poem. Yes. Experience is how we truly know something–good or bad. Experience is what gives truth to our words. Keep writing! I appreciated that you shared this poem in both Spanish and English.

  2. E Sted on November 17, 2010 at 6:28 PM

    There are some that know what it is to laugh so you don’t cry
    There are many who are unaware of suffering

    Love these two lines. Great poem, keep writing!

  3. Mary on November 23, 2010 at 9:53 PM

    Dear Free Minds Poet,

    Your poem is so powerful. It stopped me in my tracks.

  4. Jamie on March 2, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    First, I think it is wonderful that you are writing your poem in both Spanish and English. Many of the best poets speak more than one language, and often work to translate the works of other poets. The question-statement format of your poem immediately gives it a structure, and I think that structure is holding the poem together beautifully. Also, I like that the poem begins with concrete images — the heavy earth and the burning fire — which immediately engage the reader’s senses and interests. What would make the poem even more successful than it is, would be to illustrate what it would feel like to be in the speaker’s “shoes.” One of the topics that poetry often explores is how words and language fails us in expressing the inexpressible. Many poets use imagery to illustrate an emotional experience like suffering, and, although a poem cannot truly mimic the experience, it becomes a vehicle that allows others to enter the speaker’s word — a sort of doorway but not the world itself. I encourage you to write a list of concrete images or details — perhaps a worn out flip flop or a crushed can — that represent this speaker’s suffering and incorporating that list into the poem. This is a wonderful draft! Keep writing!

  5. chyna on April 13, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    hey my name is chyna and I’m 16…..i think it’s good that you talking about how suffering is bad and that sometimes experiences can changes a lot…..i love the way you wrote the poem in Spanish and English…..you really caught my eye the way you put your feelings and your hard work into this poem and for that i believe you can change your life around……good poem :)))))

  6. hector on April 13, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    Hola comprade soy un estudiante de 16 anos. he leido to poema i es muy poderoso y interesante. yo estoy estudiando justicia juvenil en mi escuela. todo lo que has dicho estoy de acuerdo. nadie sabe como es estar inprisonado por muchos anos sin ayuda. en beces hay personas que si ven el bien en cada todos. yo trato de ver el bien de tpdos pero a beces no hay bien. i hasta a hora todavia estoy aprendiendo con mucha experincia. espero que si sigas escribiendo de las experiencia.

  7. Samantha on July 2, 2021 at 2:23 PM

    I think this poem is so true, and has so much wisdom within it! It is very true that until we walk through suffering we truly don’t have any clue what it means to experience it! The same principle goes for other things in this life. Thank you for so eloquently expressing this concept in this poem! Awesome job!



  8. Rahul on October 23, 2023 at 1:56 AM

    “Quien no Sabe?” is a thought-provoking poem that emphasizes the significance of personal experience in truly understanding suffering. It’s a moving piece that vividly conveys the idea that empathy and true comprehension come from having lived through such hardships. Excellent work!

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