Protest through poetry

Read the poem. I have kept the name of the poem and poet hidden so that you don’t make judgements based upon the context of the poet.

I don’t want freedom gram by gram, grain by grain.
I have to break this steel chain with my teeth!
I don’t want freedom as a drug, as medicine,
I want it as the sun, as the earth, as the heavens!
Step, step aside, you invader!
I am the loud voice of this land!
I don’t need a puny spring,
I am thirsting for oceans!

Questions for poem

  1. What is the meaning of line one?
  2. Discuss the imagery in line two. What is the steel chain? Why must he use his teeth?
  3. Discuss lines three and four: Why does he want freedom as “the sun, the earth, the heavens?” What does that mean? How is thatdifferent from line three?
  4. Discuss the structure of lines five and six. In what ways are they effective?
  5. Explain the meaning in lines seven and eight. Connect that back to line one.
  6. Discuss the tone in this poem. How has the poet accomplished this tone?

Task:  research current events through on-line news sources. Your job is to identify a place in the world from which this poem could have emerged. You must provide evidence that this poem applies to that current situation: photos, summaries of articles, facts, etc.

Places(you may investigate other countries outside this list though these are all good suggestions):

  1. Colombia
  2. Afghanistan
  3. Somalia
  4. Iraq
  5. Pakistan
  6. Mexico
  7. Sudan
  8. Yemen
  9. Syria
  10. Libya
  11. Democratic Republic of Congo
  12. Nigeria
Conflict has also been evident in these states in the recent past:
  1. Bahrain
  2. Egypt
  3. Tunisia
  4. Sudan
  5. Nigeria
  6. Ivory Coast
  7. Iran
  8. Gaza
  9. Greece
  10. Haiti
  11. Myanmar
  12. Mexico
  13. Venezuela
Important: Accurately record your sources as you can use them for word mining later on.

Suggested Sources:

Webpath Express is ALWAYS a good source of information

On Your Own

If you look carefully at poetry, you will notice that recurring devices are commonly used. This can be a great place to get started when writing your own poetry. Look back at “The Voice of Africa” poem. What repeating devices do you see?

How else could you say the same thing?


Write a poem based upon your research that uses these 3 features:

  1. Repeated sentence tag. eg. I want…; I don’t want…; I need…;
  2. Diminishing sentence structure. eg.Each line gets shorter and simpler than the last.
  3. Use atleast 1 other poetic device. eg. Simile, metaphor, repetition, alliteration, assonance, (check your glossary)

Image: ‘Peace, Solidarity (25 of 25)

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