How Can I Speak? A Poem


By Lindy Thompson


How can I speak for someone I don’t know?

Someone whose life I have not led,

whose history I do not hold,

whose shoes I do not walk in?


How can I speak for hurting people

whose pain is their own,

whose loss is a turning knife,

giving them no rest,

no peace,

no space to breathe?


How can I speak for a race

that carries the weight

of the sins of my ancestors,

the chains of oppression

reaching back centuries,

profaning the planet with

a clung-to ignorance,

individuals daily sacrificed

in the name of greed?


How can I share

in the journey of a people

headed for a land I never left,

generations seeking a freedom

that is always coming soon

yet slightly, slightly out of reach?




How can I not?


Lindy Thompson is a lyricist and writer who lives in Franklin, TN with her husband and three children. She writes congregational songs and choral anthems with composer Mark A. Miller, many of which are published by Choristers Guild. Her poetry will appear in several upcoming issues of Alive Now, a publication of the Upper Room. She is an active member of Christ UMC and blogs her poetry at


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