Courtesy of Nick Fewings, Unsplash

“This virus is teaching us that from now on living wages, guaranteed health-care for all, unemployment and labor rights are not far left issues, but issues of right versus wrong, life versus death.” Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, American Protestant minister and political activist. Rev. Barber is the author of several recommended books. His Amazon page is HERE.

The dreams can drive you crazy sometimes
The ones that envision a just world, one
Where equity is the backbone of endurance
A vineyard of bliss, so to speak, a garden of joy
Relative to the greed times of unworthy living
In a penthouse with a golden toilet, while
Others sleep on cardboard outside, urinating
In the streets, begging for lunch and walking
Barefoot in the snow, betrayed from day one
By the false ideal of rugged independence,
Of monied might is alright, of resource hording
By the richest and unconscionable trafficking of
Children for the unhinged pleasures of the elite
Oh my God, how did this happen? and who
Might have thought that the munitions factory
Of a deadly virus would bring us nose to nose?
How COVID-19 recognizes no bank account or
Prestigious position, just drops its noxious tidbits
Indiscrimanently, into lungs of princes, prime ministers
Those sleeping rough on city streets, its travels
Enhanced by an uneven distribution of access
To water, healthcare, space, living wages,
Paid time off, the rudiments of a civilized life
Girded by compassionate societies, lessons
Learned, we await implementation, and
Dare we move beyond yearning to hope

© 2020, Jamie Dedes

This poem and post are dedicated to the much admired Rev. William Barber and to Bernie Sanders. 


This week we focus on right versus wrong, life versus death, on living wages, guaranteed health-care for all, unemployment and labor rights. Dare we move beyond yearning to hope.  Tell us you thoughts in your poem/s and

  • please submit your poem/s by pasting them into the comments section and not by sharing a link
  • please submit poems only, no photos, illustrations, essays, stories, or other prose


Poems submitted on theme in the comments section here will be published in next Tuesday’s collection. Poems submitted through email or Facebook will not be published. If you are new to The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, be sure to include a link to your website, blog, and/or Amazon page to be published along with your poem. Thank you!

Deadline:  Monday, April 6 by 8 pm Pacific Time. If you are unsure when that would be in your time zone, check The Time Zone Converter.

Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you.

You are welcome – encouraged – to share your poems in a language other than English but please accompany it with a translation into English.

Jamie Dedes:

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For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

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“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton


  1. Not long ago I was not in a lock down situation
    though I felt like being in one, restricted in ways
    unreasonable- socially distanced for unknown fears
    ‘women of the house should stay in the house’
    someone said bluntly at a combined family picnic,
    ‘so why are you lazing on the mat after a hearty
    meal, a hot mug of tea with brownies sweet?’
    No one dare say that to the man of the house-
    Today, I see the whole world ‘locked down’,
    in isolation, in full covering of body, fighting for
    life’ –

    ‘Stay Home Stay Safe’ is the glaring call
    For All rich or poor,white or black,short or tall-
    It is not ‘come closer’ it is ‘stay away’- Ha! Life
    is at war,terror fills the air, humans caged inside
    as animals roam free, shattered is the economy,
    roads parks markets streets silent and empty

    Covid-19 is the deadly enemy,
    restricting those who restricted others
    isolating those who isolated others
    forcing obedience on disobedient
    forcing cleanliness on the unclean
    exposing cowards against the brave
    forcing charity on the possessive-
    Creating Fear? but wait, perhaps a far cry’
    hunger poverty suffering need for medical
    care, threat and danger everywhere,

    Heartless humans had rendered many
    homeless,hungry raped deprived deceived
    life screamed for justice peace and equality –
    Earth suffocated in soil and sea, pleas
    fell on deaf ears,powerful showed no mercy’
    So much wrong without a bit of right, how long
    would torture bear the plight,as cries of innocent
    took the flight and reached the Purest Point of Light
    Covid-19 overnight awoke humanity to a painful sight

    No more, no more, will be, the laws of might,forget -me
    -not became ‘touch -me-not- if you love me hug me not
    can’t hold your hands first wash them please, you may
    kill me by this deadly viral disease, though I can’t see
    but I know it is there, If only I had followed the law of
    Care Share Beware and Be Fair—

    And now Nature is taking its course as hope remains
    for blessing and cure, a renaissance a cleansing a
    reset for sure, a hope for faith pure-
    There is hope there should be there is still some
    honest just humanity-

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the poem. It is a wonderful tribute to Reverend Barber and Senator Sanders. The poem is very insightful in its own right. Thank you for naming through metaphor and wisdom truths that are important to our common futures.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Jamie! Sneaking in under the wire again! Here is my contribution – I don’t know if it is on point with the prompt as it isn’t necessarily hopeful, yet here it is! Thank you for getting me out of my head with what’s happening.


    I sit on my overstuffed couch
    Scrolling on my iPhone
    Impatiently for groceries
    At not being able to get all the food
    I ordered from that same couch
    Two weeks ago

    She sits in her second hand Honda
    Giving her phone to her toddler
    Popping the trunk
    Opening her door in the rain
    Gathering two bags at a time
    Making five trips
    Leaving them on the covered porch
    After ringing the doorbell
    And then swiftly getting back into her car

    I open the door
    Dismayed that two bags had fallen over
    And the cereal had gotten wet
    I see her drive off with the toddler in the back
    Eating a banana
    And I wonder if that’s why I didn’t get bananas in my groceries.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Respected Jamie Ji

    One Day when I had the time and freedom to go for a walk I met Life on the way–

    I went for a walk, to nowhere have I been
    my eyes are painful at what they have seen

    have stepped on trash rough paper and stones
    have bent down to peer at what was ‘real bones’

    stray cats dogs cows and goats seemed to wink,
    as I wandered near many a strange company

    Walking to a book center was heavy on the feet
    if school were good I would’ve stayed on the beat

    question me not please, for I have no answers
    have no words, for humans, living as campers

    fumbling empty tins bags bottles and cans
    living often without food water, pots and pans

    kids roamed, hair disheveled scratching away
    hungry, hopeful beyond hope, ignorantly at play

    what people are these, are they refugees ?
    do they need passports and passes, please

    I wanted to be at ease, but restless I felt
    there is more than eye can see, the ears

    can hear, figures grow, the world thickens
    unkempt more, like a place of Charles Dickens

    question me not for what more I see
    people hit, shot, killed, a girls bleeding body–

    Oh now I question myself, about right and wrong
    a world for all, a world just, equal, fair and strong

    am I awake is this real I ask myself, as I turned back
    why can’t I reach for the answers, in- The Book on The Shelf?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We haven’t had winter,
    but we have spring,
    with rain and even some snow.
    We were locked home
    and only the birds sing outside.

    The cage can be cozy,
    if we go back to ourselves again.
    It is raining hard
    and the birds are singing,
    while someone is saving the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks Jamie

    :: really, oh really ::

    what some folk feel is right

    others consider wrong, some

    write with the music

    a few fail, falter

    without much to live on

    no one to care for them

    some say this is not fair, yet

    i find that fair does not even figure

    this life you gets what you gets

    and feels how you choose to



    however the dice fall

    the cards come out

    this may be your heaven

    here on earth

    if you like

    if that is the way to think

    really, oh really.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “And yet We Live”

    We don’t know why life leaps from nonliving things
    And yet we live.
    We don’t know why we see a bird or think a thought
    And yet we see and think.
    We don’t know why we die
    And yet we die.
    I don’t know why you love me
    And yet you love me.
    Aren’t these things enough for us?

    February 12, 2020
    (c) Mike Stone 2020

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “Mothers and other Collateral Damage”

    This is not an epic tale in dactylic hexameter
    Such as Homer’s Iliad or Odyssey;
    No kidnap of Helen or destruction of Troy,
    Nor a lover’s star-crossed tragedy,
    But an Ohio story, not as unique
    As you might well imagine:
    My father aspired to escape his parents
    And their protective quarantine,
    To write stories for the radio,
    And met a beautiful poetess
    With the soul of a whippoorwill
    And a heart born in the wilderness.
    She could poem all day
    And poem all night,
    She could poem you a poem
    Till the dawn’s first light.
    She could rhyme you by the river,
    She could rhyme you in the wood,
    She could rhyme you in the field
    Where the scarecrow stood.
    She could mete out any meter
    Like galloping horses on a plain,
    Dactylic or iambic
    Till you went insane.
    He put a ladder to her window
    And they ran away together
    To a justice of the peace in ol’ Kentuck
    Too young to know any better
    And got married, till death did them part.
    O how we loved them both,
    My little sis and I,
    Their happily-ever-after troth.
    But I’m getting ahead of my story –
    I was born respectably later
    And my sister sometime after that
    Not knowing of the traitor.
    Mama suckled me on poetry
    Instead of mothers’ milk.
    Maybe that’s why I grew up skinny
    With a voice as soft as silk.
    Dad told me stories sitting on his lap
    O how he could spin yarn,
    He could tell me stories
    That would burn down an old barn
    And Mama burned his face with kisses
    After we were put to sleep
    Dreaming dreams with safety nets,
    Little souls deposited in God’s keep.
    If only our stories had continued so
    We would have been content,
    But that was not what was to be
    And nothing we could prevent.
    Maybe Dad grew jealous of her poetry
    Or his parents threatened him
    That if he didn’t break it off,
    His fortune would be slim.
    One night she was loved and cherished,
    The next night she was betrayed.
    Her fragile soul was broken
    When she saw their vows unmade.
    I’m sure they didn’t mean to hurt us,
    We were just collateral damage,
    Thinking we had somehow caused it
    And felt like abandoned baggage.
    How could she stop being Mama?
    Things like that couldn’t be,
    Such was inconceivable
    To a seven-year-old and one who’s only three.
    We were raised by housekeepers
    For the next two years,
    Grandma made sure they were ugly as sin
    To assure there were no affairs.
    I remember Missus Weber
    Told me of the Rapture at the end of days
    And scared the bejesus out of me
    With the world being set ablaze.
    Then Dad brought home another Mom.
    They told us Mama never loved us,
    That she’d take a pancake turner to me
    If something made her fuss.
    The new Mom, that’s what I was to call her,
    Not stepmom; that she wouldn’t stand for,
    She promised she would love us
    Better’n we’d been loved before.
    Years later I grew to understand that
    Love meant something else to her
    Than what we had understood:
    Cooking meals and pots were stirred,
    Making sure we brushed our teeth and
    Washing behind our ears.
    No poetry would feed our souls,
    No one would wipe our tears,
    The ten commandments would have to do for us,
    We pretended that was love
    And laid our dreams to rest
    In the starry night above.
    One day Mama married another man,
    They moved to Panama
    And adopted two new infants
    But a careless driver killed Mama.
    My little sis and I grew up and moved away
    To escape from our ordeal,
    Sis went to live in Connecticut
    And I moved to Israel.
    We’d keep alive our memories
    Of evidence of Mama’s love.
    Sis was always certain of it
    But I had doubts thereof.
    What with all the fictions I’d been told,
    What memories could I believe?
    I continued to play the son
    But myself I couldn’t deceive.
    Dad passed away; it’s been ten years now.
    Soon after that, Mom became demented.
    Her brain was strip-mined by disease
    And claims that she had married Dad were soon rejected.
    With all the fictions gone, all that was left was truth:
    That sis and I were Mama’s kids, Mom had to agree.
    A few years ago, the infant girl Mama had adopted
    Sent us Mama’s book of poetry,
    Casting away my many doubts
    And resurrecting love from Lazarus’ cave.
    Mom passed away some months ago,
    Buried next to Dad, grave to grave.
    Maybe they’ll warm each other’s bones
    On the long train-ride to eternity
    Pointing out the windows with bony fingers
    At stars and galaxies flying by.

    February 16, 2020
    (c) Mike Stone 2020
    (NOTE to Jamie: I’m not sure this is on theme or not. It’s your choice. Please erase this note.)

    Liked by 3 people

  9. “The Two Colors of Wisdom”

    All things in the world
    Are painted with two colors:
    The color of good
    And that of evil.
    Those with wisdom
    Can see both colors
    But some only see one color
    And not the other.
    Don’t blame the blind
    For being unable to see.

    February 24, 2020
    (c) Mike Stone 2020

    Liked by 2 people

  10. “Making Peace with Ourselves”

    Most of the time I’m just me
    And sometimes I’m we
    But every once in a while, we are them
    And they are us.
    It seems to me that everyone
    Who wants their story heard
    Would want their own country
    To tell it loud and clear
    And the problem with countries
    Is that nobody will give you one
    Just because you asked for it nicely
    And nobody wants to be occupied
    So, if you still want a country
    You’re going to have to make life
    Pretty uncomfortable for the occupiers.
    I mean when we were them
    And they were us,
    Why can’t we remember that?
    Then maybe we could make peace with ourselves.

    March 7, 2020
    (c) Mike Stone 2020

    Liked by 2 people

  11. “Considerations”

    Shop doors and borders,
    opportunities and certainties
    slam with a bang
    as millions of fingernails are
    frayed and
    billions of curses are
    yet among the maelstrom of
    closures comes
    the kindness of the
    pharmacist finding a way to
    dispense multiple months of
    blood pressure pills to a
    panic-ridden patient despite
    restrictions against stockpiling or the
    hotelier reducing rates
    for self-isolators
    in a strange city or the
    project manager setting aside
    special assignments for the freelancer
    freaking out about rent.
    Pandemics and presidential elections
    linger as blips in textbooks, but
    undying compassion is what secures
    sustainable safety nets.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. “If We Lived in a Just World (or Country)”
    — inspired by Jamie Dedes

    If we lived in a just world (or country)
    We would not deny a seat at our table to someone who came after us
    And no one would be forced to choose between medicine and food
    Between one child and another
    Or between grandparents and younger people.

    If we lived in a just world (or country)
    We wouldn’t have to be generous because our government wasn’t
    The government wouldn’t steal money from us to give to the rich
    The rich wouldn’t choke us and cook us with their carbon dioxide
    Our armies wouldn’t march into weaker countries just because they could
    And we wouldn’t turn back immigrants because we were once them.

    If we lived in a just world (or country)
    We wouldn’t raise hopes where there were none to raise
    We’d just roll up our sleeves and do the best we could
    We’d know the difference between right and wrong
    And forget the difference between right and left
    We wouldn’t have to choose between our past and our future
    Because nobody can take away our past
    And nobody should try to take away our future.

    April 1, 2020
    (c) Mike Stone 2020, from “The Hoopoe’s Call” (

    Liked by 2 people

  13. RSPH OldMoor

    From our skies small figures
    In camouflage plumage, laden with binoculars
    and scopes wend between hides.

    We record them as they record us.
    We are Royal Society For Protection
    of Humans.

    Nothing worse than for humans
    to sense they have no control
    over their landscape

    so we make it seem they care
    for us, design this site, build the hides,
    nurture our nature.

    They must feel valued and necessary,
    and make their own decisions.
    Sometimes the females carry all the equipment.

    Stats: 3 Widowers, 2 female single parents
    And 3 young, 4 unemployed males, 7 volunteers.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. THAT’S WHY,
    I water this house bound potted plant for i now know it’s feeling,
    I speak softly to my pet petting it to calm it’s days indoors,
    I make an effort to check kin near and far to offer an assurance I have in short supply,
    I sing songs that has my throats conscripted,
    I reflect on yesterday’s and marvel at my assumed ignorance,
    I read a good book and refuse to get frayed,
    While I yearn for a hug and a kiss close,
    While I year for a drive and the wind on my face,
    I remain grateful knowing many are worse off,
    I turn inward and offer a prayer in humility,
    Not just for me and my household,
    But for humanity whom I admit are me,
    And as I stay in and about my space,
    My heart aches for those lying on a rocky pillow,
    I cry in prayer for one isolated unable to breath unassisted,
    I forgive those who should have known better but chose to ignore,
    And I send good vibes to the universe with this plea,
    May we never again as a species with ability to chose,
    Ever again divide and demonize the very essence of life in health.
    @ Nancy Ndeke.

    Liked by 4 people

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