Since social media has blossomed, it has been a playground for the narcissists of today. Some will post a selfie daily – sometimes more than once a day even – awaiting a plethora of approvals from their friends to boost their ego. There are those who want recognition for the good deeds they do, rather than be humble about it. We poets, we do it too. Writing about ourselves, our problems, and our pain; masking the self-centeredness by sometimes using a third person perspective.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong writing about our emotions. It is how most of us cope with toils of reality. But we are writers for a reason. We have been given a gift to speak for the entire world to hear but sometimes our audience wants to hear a bit more. They read about the woes of depression, addiction and broken hearts, and can certainly relate to our words because they are human too. What if we were to expand our minds and speak for groups amidst humanity? For the trafficked children who can’t be heard. For the souls of those in other countries who don’t have the same rights as we do. For the endangered animals depleting in supply. Even for the forests or food supply getting scarcer daily. Many writers are afraid to get political these days for the fear of offending someone. But if we don’t address the subjects others are afraid to talk about, who is left to say something?
Poet Langston Hughes touched on the delicate subject of slavery in many of his poems. In “The Negro Mother,” the narrator speaks of her struggles as a slave and the hardships endured while dreaming of the day slaves would be free. She encourages her children to make a better future and not forget the reason she persevered. The poem speaks for all slaves who have been mistreated and fought for their freedom.
The world has not been free of slavery even though many have fought long and hard for civil rights. There are countries where citizens are slaves to corrupt governments and militias. There are many companies who treat their employees like laborers beneath them. Many in society have become hostages to the drug companies and doctors shoving medication down our throats, when they can’t figure out how to fix the actual problem. Slavery is a cause far and wide with much to write about and by putting these issues in our poetry, we can bring awareness to the injustices of the world.
CTU’s very own Sue Lobo decided to dedicate an entire book of poems to the animals she loves dearly. Sue was fortunate enough to live in Africa, getting a first-hand look at the massacre of the country’s beloved animals. Every poem in her book Wild Whisperings is written about animals; some from the perspective of the creatures we share the planet with. It is such a passionate cause for her, that all the proceeds from the book goes to Save The Rhino International Fund.
So if you are you a nature activist, a strict vegetarian, or protest the use of animal testing, these are causes that could use a voice in poetry. Write to inform about the lands around us being destroyed. Educated others about the poisons in our food and why eating naturally is beneficial. Make people aware of the companies still being cruel to animals for the sake of research and development. Give nature its due because our plants, trees and animals cannot speak for themselves.
When you decide to touch on delicate subjects, be ready for the those who are waiting to pounce and argue the cause. They are out there and they are entitled to their opinions just as you are. But as the world continues to be divided day by day with so many different points of views, think about how you will respond. Do you want to drag out an argument with someone who has nothing better to do, as it could go on and on forever? Take all comments about your work as constructive criticism and tread cautiously. Don’t take away from the intent of the subject you are writing about. Sometimes you just have to play nice with the few who bring negativity and move along.
Don’t feel confined in your writing because of how the rest of the world will react. You have a voice for a reason. Raise it. Give it depth so your audience will stay interested. You never know who may need to hear what you have to say.
Written by: Donna J. Sanders
Donna is a freelance writer and blogger in West Palm Beach, FL. She is the author of Ataraxia – a poetry collection about the struggles we face, the state of the world and how to see beauty in the simplest things, and Cardboard Signs – poems to bring awareness about homelessness, mental illness, self-esteem and the injustices many face.
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Photo Credit: © Donna J. Sanders
Categories: Writing Tips