Perspectives in Freedom

"What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend,  
it ceases to exist."
                - Salman Rushdie
"Speak, or be unheard,
open your mind or be confined.
You have so much to say
don't let self doubt take it away.
Open minds and hearts are listening
and they can affirm what is humanity
expressing and being itself in you
opinions aren't right or wrong, just unique;
it is bravery in action to shout in your
true voice as a lion would roar
and a fearless voice is a blessing
even in the face of dissent;
your ideas are so much more."
"A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is
 until it's in hot water."
                       - Eleanor Roosevelt
    Briskly Brewed and Brazen:
She never knew how much
until he fell into the water  
that her own will would strengthen.
Suddenly so important, so necessary
to the man who had barely needed her
Eleanor became that and so much more
for the first time to anyone.
She had always hid in plain sight
as ordinary as any other woman
looking like all the rest among her
never having been told she was anyone more
than a plain jane who should hope for mercy
and aspire greatly that she might find
some living to suit her fancy.
But the old lady never knew her daughter
well enough or long enough to understand
how her neglected heart was brewing
And the great plans that were ahead.
Her father drank the pain away
leaving her an orphan.
That's when the transformation began
that would later help her stand strong
and speak loudly though slowly  
traveling everywhere to those who
wanted to know her.
Her past behind, she kept moving
forward, becoming a first lady
of beauty in the eyes of the world.
"Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock,  
 no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind."
                - Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
    Virginia Was A Lone Woolf:
A proper lady she was
a damsel of the dark
had purple rage at times
when life became too hard
She could be sweet to gentlemen
who dared to her befriend
but little did they know
her mania would come again.
Alone with her thoughts when
her world would she pine for
and all that surrounded her
was there to remind her
to write of her imaginings
escaping into nicer things
letting words be her guide
a printing press at her side.
But when time wore on
and loved ones faded away
all that freedom was too much
she longed for children again to play
when the planes flew overhead
she felt her past unraveling
the demons in her mind arose
as away from home she was traveling
a river called her home at last
at 41, she waded in fast.
"Censors never go after books unless kids already like them...
 children are interested in reading this book, therefore  
 there must be something in it that's wrong."
                  - Judy Blume
Does God know I'm smiling
under this hot, opressive thing
and does it matter how pretty I am
when it's too hard to even sing
I try to smile with my eyes,
but does it work, I just want to
connect, is that so weird
and just look happy
so it will help me be free
I don't want misery defining this
time or any other worrying.
I want to breathe better,
not be stifled and shamed,
my periforal vision always restrained.
Why are so many paying for
the mistakes of the few,
why must everyone suffer
just because of some rules.
I want to have hope, wear lip gloss,  
smirk as I roll my eyes,
make someone laugh  
even just to share a common smile.
"This is what you shall do; Love...stand up for the stupid and crazy...
 re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book,  
 dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be  
 a great poem."
              - Walt Whitman
Free to exist without a care,
yet would we not stay standing there
or would we wander far and wide
to find whatever we lacked inside.
Once begun can not retrace
or view reflected our own face
trapped in solace as we turn
to every other place and learn
what escaped as we remained
held in our own heart reframed
dreaming on our languor long
holding on to every song.
Somehow peace itself is free
and silent courage hopes to be
if only it could find a way
in some small manner still it may.
"There is no greater agony than bearing  
 an untold story inside you."
          - Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
 Mute Agony:
She looked inside
and questioned herself
when hope was gone
never understanding why.
To suffer alone when
no one shares that space
unable to cry  
as no single emotion was enough.
A child removed from
the joy carved out for her,
placed furthur away from it
than she could reach,
turning from its pull
destined to struggle
to find her true self,
her waters muddied.
She took the hard way
flapping those wings
until she found out
what they were meant for
all along.
      No Quarter:
A quarter for yo' thoughts
a nickel for yo' dreams
we've been stamped in juxtapose
can't see each others' gleam
Yet we're here all shiny new
even though so old we seem
you thought this recaptured me
from thundering on dusty plains
Eternal sits in some collection
of many safely garnered things
but even if you wanted this
more than any other gains
I retreat from ever'y wish
only this promise can glean
I won't stay imprisoned here
if my value has its falling out
like rising dust I'll leave.
"Freedom is the option of one"
 (see also Mary Oliver's poem "The Journey")
       At The Edge:
At the cusp of dense thicket
you hear it, you listen close
a screeching tiny throat  
brown feathered like everything
that hides within
As so, its voice was never sorry
it wanted to find you in earshot
and you needed that wonder
to know your own.
Under where the sky disapears  
upon the fringe of stillest life
whose voice never recedes
or halts its repetition
Everything becomes clear
resounding in wild abandon,
You were meant to hear your own story
at the edge of the boundless.

 "There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil
   to one who is striking at the root."
    - Henry David Thoreau, Walden, or Life in the Woods
"That real vast space
we hold inside
with all our strength
within which to hide.
The fortress is strong
and in some way belongs
to every insult deflected
or surrendered upon.
Each choice we make  
determines how far  
we can travel each time
we feel our truths unwind
It hurts to hold on so tight
to every question glaring in sight
so why not let go of that dead branch
you are free to decide."
Written by PoetsRevenge
Author's Note
These were my entries written for and entered in the 'Poetry As Peaceful Protest Prompt Comp' which I hosted this year and I also entered in NaPoWriMo2022.
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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