The Silence of my Country
There was once music here
Where the people danced and sang.
Listen to the silence now. Do you hear?
It all started with bangs.
Not a soul was safe
In these dangerous streets.
It was a chase
For survival, for them to compete.
Where they naïve to simply think
They could work for their things?
They were now left with less;
Jobless, homeless, and hopeless.
There was a sense of urgency
Where their people were left
In a state of constant emergency
However, they would not result to theft.
They will not surrender to the chaos
That flood the streets and schools
That meet in a cross
Becoming too cruel.
Their homes raided,
And disrespected with racial slurs.
Their lives degraded;
And for what? No papers?
Who are you to judge
Who can and will make it?
They won’t just budge
And they shouldn’t continue to sit.
Let us rise from the ashes
Let us rise from the hate
From the lashes
From the weight,
We will fight through the injustice
Of our oppression!
I chose to loosely imitate Henry Derozio’s “The Harp of India” because rereading his poem inspired me to write something similar. He writes about the disappointment he feels that his country has been colonized. In his poem, the harp was a representation of his country. I, on the other hand, was more straightforward in what I was saying. His poem was also directed to a more general audience so other countries who were colonized could also relate to it. In my poem I directed it more towards the undocumented community, since this is a big problem and worry since our new president came into office. I wanted this poem to speak to our community. My poem is meant to acknowledge what is wrong with our country today, but also to encourage the fight for our rights as humans. This can be related to any of the oppressed today so that we do not stay silent, and we fight for what is right. I also tried imitating the form he used in his poem except instead of making it a sonnet like Derozio’s poem, I extended it. Not only because the assignment required something longer than an actual sonnet, but also just so I could go more in depth without making it for a specific group. I would also like to mention that because my poem is shorter, I have extended my review to analyze my poem and my reasoning behind writing it the way I did more.
I tried to stick as much as I could to the sonnet form by making the stanzas into quatrains, ending with a couplet. I also had an ABAB rhyme scheme for most of my poem. In the third stanza, I had an AABB rhyme scheme that interrupted the original rhyme scheme. The reason I broke the pattern here was to symbolize how immigrants attempt to break from their pattern by coming to the United States and work for a better life. Despite breaking the pattern when they come here, they are forced into their old life style because they are not given their true rights as humans. They continue to work hard and receive hardly anything back, for the most part it is more than their own country, yet not enough for them to completely break this patter. When the ABAB rhyme scheme continues after this stanza, it is a representation of how immigrants are forced to continue working, because despite being here, life does not get easier for them. I also start off the poem with “they” and “theirs” to show the reader looking from the outside to a group of people on the inside. It is difficult for someone to understand what someone else is going through because one’s experience is not the same for everyone. However, towards the end of my poem I begin to write “we,” and the reason for this is because although we cannot experience others’ suffering, it does not mean we cannot help. The couplet at the end, however, does not follow the AA rhyme scheme, also representing how we as a whole need to break the pattern of injustice immigrants face, as well as all of those oppressed.