Today is World Poetry Day

“In a constantly evolving world, a world of rapid change and social transformation, poets have a presence alongside civil movements and know how to alert consciences to the world’s injustices as well as encourage appreciation of its beauty.”  – Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

In honor of World Poetry Day, a poem from one of our students at Community Health Academy of the Heights:

Tell Me


Tell me you didn’t cry after what happened to me,

everything you saw was a lie and that you just wish to be.

Tell me they did not take me by force on the floor,

watched me beg for mercy as you ran out the door,

Tell me you didn’t watch them taunt me,

losing my dignity as they took my virginity.

Tell me they did not drag me across the sand.

Why didn’t you help? Why didn’t you take my hand?

Tell me they didn’t burn me to death,

stabbed me many times ‘til’ there was no life left.

Tell me you did not see my hopes and dreams thrown away,

lost memories from my best days.

Tell me my soul did not see my corpse

drown in tears and isolation

swallowed by the waves, down, underneath,

to the world of the undead, where none can be saved.

Tell me you did not see the waves splash me ashore,

they did not find me days later to see that I was no more.

Tell me you did not see me on the sand decaying.

When they saw this they lost hope and stopped praying.

Tell me you did not find me without any eyes,

left blind so no one would see their lies.

Tell me I did not haunt them for the rest of their lives,

I did not hurt them and torture their wives.

Tell me I did not appear in their nightmares

and make them cry in fright,

for every drop of blood that bled from me that night.

Tell me I did not make them suffer for taking away years,

my life drowned in my corpse with the left-over tears.

Tell me I did not kill them a thousand times in their sleep

for every tear that was made,

for stealing my life, making my memories fade.

Tell me what I saw was all a lie,

you weren’t part of the crime,

you have felt shame all this time,

you did care,

you did cry,

you didn’t just stand there, and watch me die.


Author Paul Griffin leads the class on a neighborhood walk. Students drew inspiration for their short stories and poems from things they noticed and felt during the walk.

Emilia participated in a Behind the Book program with Paul Griffin, author of Ten Mile River, The Orange Houses and Stay With Me.  For more about this program, read our previous blog post The Finish Line.  This poem and others are featured in an anthology of student writing published by Behind the Book.  Check it out for free!


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