Freedom

Lochinvar

by Sir Walter Scott

‘Lochinvar’ is a ballad about a young and courageous knight who saves his beloved, the fair lady Ellen, from marrying another man.

Though he is forbidden to marry Ellen, Lochinvar knows how to get what he wants. The knight rides all alone across wild and rough terrain, giving him the persona of a cowboy or an outlaw who lives by his own rules. In stealing away Ellen and disappearing into the countryside, Lochinvar shows the listener that he is willing to break any boundary for love.

A still— Volcano —Life

by Emily Dickinson

‘A still— Volcano —Life’ by Emily Dickinson is an unforgettable poem that uses an extended metaphor to describe the life of the poet. She compares herself to a volcano that erupts under the cover of darkness.

An American Sunrise

by Joy Harjo

‘An American Sunrise’ by Joy Harjo is a powerful poem about Native American culture written by the current Poet Laureate of the United States. The poem explores the struggles of the poet’s community as well as the successes and celebrations. 

As I Grew Older

by Langston Hughes

‘As I Grew Older’ by Langston Hughes is about breaking through the “wall” that racism constructs. The speaker, a Black man from the African American community, spends the poem discussing the light of forgotten dreams he’s newly determined to attain.

Blowin’ in the Wind

by Bob Dylan

What’s actually blowin’ in the wind? What’s already there yet deliberately ignored? The answer, my friend, is there in the memorable lyrics of Bob Dylan’s best-loved song ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’.

Boston Hymn

by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson composed ‘Boston Hymn’ in late 1862, just before the emancipation proclamation. Through this poem, Emerson warns Americans of their wrongs and gives them a chance to repent of all crimes against freedom.

Caged Bird

by Maya Angelou

‘Caged Bird’, or ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ as the poem is sometimes referred to, by Maya Angelou, is arguably one of the most moving and eye-opening poems ever written.

Camping Out

by Gina Marie Lauchner

‘Camping Out’ by Gina Marie Lauchner is a celebration of camping and the joys of spending time outside when it’s dark. 

Catch the Fire

by Sonia Sanchez

‘Catch the Fire’ by Sonia Sanchez is a thoughtful and inspiring poem. In it, the poet encourages readers to catch their fire and use their passion to fuel their lives.

Concord Hymn

by Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘Concord Hymn’ by Ralph Waldo Emerson describes the spirit which inhabited the “embattled farmers” at the start of the Revolutionary War. 

Courage

by Anna Akhmatova

‘Courage’ by Anna Akhmatova is a passionate poem about courage in the face of war. Specifically, Akhmatova was writing about World War II. 

Dream Variations

by Langston Hughes

‘Dream Variations’ by Langston Hughes details two slightly different dreams a Black speaker has as he is confronted with the “white day.”

Enlightenment

by Natasha Trethewey

‘Enlightenment’ by Natasha Trethewey is a powerful poem about race and racism. The poet depicts the ways in which history can be interpreted.

Equality

by Maya Angelou

‘Equality’ by Maya Angelou is an uplifting poem with a positive message. It speaks movingly about the possibilities of the future.

Frederick Douglass

by Robert Hayden

‘Frederick Douglass’ by Robert Hayden honors Douglass and speaks about a future in which all people, according to Douglass’ ideas of love and logic, will be treated equally without question.

Freedom

by Rabindranath Tagore

‘Freedom’ by Rabindranath Tagore is a powerful and effective poem about freedom. The speaker spends the seventeen lines of the poem describing the kind of freedom he hopes his country will find.

Full Moon and Little Frieda

by Ted Hughes

In ‘Full Moon and Little Frieda,’ Ted Hughes describes his daughter’s observations of the world around her, reflecting on nature and family.

Harriet Tubman

by Eloise Greenfield

‘Harriet Tubman’ by Eloise Greenfield is a moving and simple piece of poetry about Tubman’s life. The poet explores her bravery and determination in the face of impossible odds.

Honour Killing

by Imtiaz Dharker

‘Honour Killing’ by Imtiaz Dharker is a poem about the fight for freedom.The freedom of being able to express oneself.

I Dream a World

by Langston Hughes

‘I Dream A World’ by Langston Hughes is a powerful, short poem that outlines the poet’s vision of a utopian world. There, no one is judged on the color of their skin and all people have access to the same freedoms.

Identity

by Julio Noboa Polanco

‘Identity’ is a figurative examination of selfhood, and a poetic warning against the dangers of conformity.

Into My Own

by Robert Frost

Robert Frost’s ‘Into My Own’ explores the concepts of maturity and growing up. The poet delves into the exploration of childhood and self.

Language Lesson 1976

by Heather McHugh

‘Language Lesson 1976’ by Heather McHugh is a thoughtful poem. In it, the speaker uses language cleverly to make statements about America and love. 

Live Your Life

by Chief Tecumseh

‘Live Your Life’ by Chief Tecumseh is an easy-to-read and powerful poem. It was written with the intention of sharing the poet’s beliefs about how to live life and embrace death without fear.

Middle Passage

by Robert Hayden

‘Middle Passage’ by Robert Hayden is a narrative poem written in the 1940s. It describes the happenings of the Atlantic Slave Trade, as told from the perspective of several white narrators.

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