Speak Child Speak


For my daughter

Speak, child, speak,
hold not your tongue because the question that you ask,
the answer that it brings may be the solution that saves us all

Speak, child, speak
Because ignorance is not bliss,
it is apathy to the mind.
It is the residue of stagnant thoughts that destroys itself fully
with the passions of time
& stagnation is death to young & old minds.

Speak, child, speak,
your voice may be the one that touches the world & shapes reality
into a paradise that women, men, & children may grow & peacefully live in.

Speak, child, speak,
Because my voice is old & un-remembered.
It is the weeping in the bowels of coffin ships & it is the creak of rope & wind
& silent kingdoms swaying in a sultry southern breeze,
it is the shackles of falsehoods binding me to inferior thoughts of mental slavery,
It is the sound of a fast life lived & lost in court rooms
silently weeping in cells trying to escape my self-created hell.

Speak, child, speak,
Because you are the Grace of God & the Dreams of a Nation.



  1. Rhiannon on December 2, 2018 at 11:18 PM

    Beautiful. Gave me chills. What a great message thoughtfully crafted into words and prose.

  2. Elizabeth on February 15, 2019 at 11:47 AM

    Your imagery is powerful: “shackles of falsehoods”–wow! Your last line is one I will remember and take with me into the world. Thank you for writing this.

  3. Liz on February 15, 2019 at 11:59 AM

    My favorite line:

    Speak, child, speak,
    Because you are the Grace of God & the Dreams of a Nation.

    I only wish all children know they have this power and are so, so loved.

  4. Molly Argersinger on February 15, 2019 at 12:21 PM

    I was drawn to your poem because my son had trouble learning how to talk, so the words “Speak, child, speak” reminded me of the concern I felt for his troubles early in life. The structure of your poem is part of its strength. There is a back forth between hope for the future, brief, like a refrain to a hymn or song, and longer, drawn out stanzas that are heavy with wounds of the past and present, like flashes of light in a darkened room. Is it a candle burning, reliable but small, or a camera flash that is bright, short-lived, disorienting?
    The fact that your last stanza is the “refrain” tells me that as the poem comes to its end, the candle is still burning. “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)
    Even in the longer stanzas of suffering, I see hope because your words tell me you understand what (some of) the problems are: Apathy, stagnation, falsehoods, fast living all summed up in a “self-created hell”. This poem is for your daughter, you say. If I may be so bold, I would invite (challenge?) you to see yourself as the daughter/son. You are someone’s child and you are definitely God’s child. You are a seed still with a future as long as you have breath in you. Grace is not something meant only for others but for you, too. And that grace is now. God bless you on your journey.

  5. John on March 21, 2020 at 5:09 PM

    wow! God bless you as well, I pray for you and your daughter.

  6. Kayelynn on April 19, 2020 at 4:06 PM


    Stunning poem! To me, your poem shows the endless potential in children to change the world — as long as they’re led to believing in themselves and given the tools to succeed. There’s so much hope in the future because there’s always a chance that the next generation will be better than we can be. Loved your language and your emphasis on speaking out through the repetition of the line “Speak child speak.” You’re a lovely writer!

  7. Sydney on April 24, 2020 at 12:10 PM


    A poem like this, made with so much love and consideration, is one of the best gifts a daughter can ask for. You’re right, ignorance is not bliss, it’s resignation, and knowledge is power. She needs to know that her voice matters.

    I also think /you/ need to know that your voice matters too. Not just through your daughter (however honorable an important that is), but through yourself and the story you have to tell. What you talk about in the fourth stanza needs to be heard, and you’re the right person for the job.

    The line that stuck with me most is as follows: “It is the sound of a fast life lived and lost in court rooms.” First of all, this is extremely powerful and well put. But secondly, although many lives have been lived and lost like this, I think it’s important to remember that you’re life is not lost yet. Your voice may be old and discarded by the ignorant, but it is vital and it deserves to be heard.

    Please keep writing. Not only for your daughter, but also for yourself.


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