Segregated – A Poem

Yesterday I was doing a lesson with my daughter about Martin Luther King and there was a picture of a segregated bus.  There was a man sitting there with a wide smile in the front.  I don’t exactly know why – but I was fuming.  I find it hard to justify what was done – and what we still do.  As with most things that bother me – I wrote a poem about it.  Although I know a poem does not change anything – I couldn’t remain silent.


You see them sitting happily
All smiles on the bus
Whites in front
The rest pushed back
And somehow
They manage a smile
Pocketbooks clutched tightly
Against white skin
How can they not understand?
I suffocate at the idea
The world closes in
And the air tastes stale
Bitterness swallowed
How my heart quakes
I know not how
I could have lived
In such a time
My voice raised
My heart quavering
I would have stood up
And despite my white skin
I would have sat in the back
Perhaps hated by those I sat with
And bludgeoned by those in the front
But no matter what
I know I would have willingly died
For what I believe in.

© Sumyanna 2015


8 thoughts on “Segregated – A Poem

  1. Wonderful poem. And in my humble opinion believe a poem like yours can change things, impacting those who engage it, which impacts how they engage the world and others. I always try to keep the notion of six degrees of separation when I am feeling there is nothing I can do against the seemingly unstoppable wave of ignorance and hate.


    • That makes me feel better. I worry sometimes they go unheard. I don’t worry about me – but I wish it could help someone somehow. We need to do our part. I cannot fight except with my words. So glad you liked the poem. You have given me hope.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish for 7.4 billion people with such dedication to fighting inequality…Although laws prevent segregation today, prejudice & separation still exist. My adopted children receive racist remarks; particularly, since we are a mixed race family…We are all the same…we all have the same beating hearts…thank you for your poem & dedication to justice & equality.


    • All I can do is make sure I raise my children to think the same. It has to start somewhere. It is so very sad the state of things. We think we made progress and then the truth comes crashing down on our heads – AGAIN. So very sad that after all this time we haven’t realized that we have no other choice but to learn to live together.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I couldn’t help it. I read my daughter’s book and felt it had to be said. It is strange how our minds work, sometimes. So glad you liked it and thank you for saying it is inspirational. That is what I strive for most in writing. Sometimes I write about general things – but these mean the most to my heart.


  3. I know just what you mean. Sometimes I read things or see things such as that and something inside me fires up. I don’t know what it is. I feel very angry and find such things unbelievably unfair or cruel. Sometimes the only way to get it out is to write it out in poetry…it’s like putting your feelings into the words and afterwords you feel better and proud that you stood up for what you believe in. So I find this extremely inspirational. You did a wonderful job and I love it. It speaks to me in a positive way. An absolutely stunning work of poetry.


    • So glad you liked it. It is poems like these that I cherish a lot. They have a lot of meaning for me. I know how you feel and it is good that you have a way to express your feelings. Thanks!


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