Thursday, July 30, 2020

Lessons from a Mockingbird

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” To Kill a Mockingbird ~ Harper Lee


I’ve stripped to my bones

to try and feel the weight

of another’s skin, crawled

out of my own thinking

to explore foreign thoughts

alien to the landscape I’ve

made my home.


In the brine of history

my spirit burns with the scars

of those shackled to prejudice.

The walk of chains allows only

as much freedom as the length

inhuman allows it to roam.


In the everything repeated nothing learned

anger blooms from the same well-tended root

of hate’s tree never pruned.


I walk the cliff edge of hymns where

the slave song is now a chant,

“No Justice No peace.”


In a savage shaking I awaken in my privilege,

look down at my skin, and know nothing

will change if I remain content to live

in my city of silence.


©Susie Clevenger 2020

The Wednesday Prompt ~ Word Crafters


  1. Utterly beautiful Susie! True heart and wisdom rings from each line. Too many wonderful lines to quote but that last line is amazing! Powerful poem! My Muse poem for this week, touches on this a bit too. Certainly something weighing on many hearts these days. 💔

  2. In my city of silence .... a most sobering way to end this beautifully composed poetry.

  3. A wonderful poem. The last two stanzas are especially gripping, and we none of us must remain in our city of silence.

  4. The "brine of history" is a wonderful way to describe it. And the "city of silence" is where so many of us have lived for too long.

  5. This is intense. To me, the first stanza is especially well written.

  6. It takes a lot of wisdom to understand that there will be some things that are almost impossible to understand unless you've lived them too. But that's OK. We always have the option to make space for people to tell their truths, and to really listen when they speak, and to make sure that we don't preserve toxic silences just because some truths are uncomfortable.

  7. Hmmm, very thought-provoking. I love the raw honesty.

  8. Well said indeed, SC. Congrats.
    I especially liked:

    In the everything repeated nothing learned
    anger blooms from the same well-tended root
    of hate’s tree never pruned.

  9. It takes a special sort of mind and heart to look and see (and feel) the true nature of horrors that aren't personal to them. It takes the sort of mind our world needs, especially these days.

    I really like that the speaker makes it known from the very beginning that the process of seeing and accepting and doing something won't be easy. Change is a comfortable thing. Neither is inaction, as the last stanza shows so vividly.