Poetry in Protest

It seems that every weekend there’s a march or a protest at this point. There’s a lot to be upset about, and plenty of people want to make themselves heard. Scheduling marches and protests is a very public and often effective way to voice concerns that are being ignored by those in power.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox, an American poet of the late 1800s and early 1900s, understood the importance of protest as a vehicle for change. Although not a particularly critically acclaimed poet, Wilcox was a popular and much beloved poet during her time, and evidence of her accessible and direct style can be found in “Protest.”

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

To sin by silence, when we should protest,
Makes cowards out of men. The human race
Has climbed on protest. Had no voice been raised
Against injustice, ignorance, and lust,
The inquisition yet would serve the law,
And guillotines…

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