A Voice for the Voiceless ~ A Poetry Challenge

Rainer Maria Rilke   en.wikipedia.org

Rainer Maria Rilke  en.wikipedia.org

There is in the land
a rising chorus of the Voiceless
Those who while in the system
remain outside of it

They’re the Invisible
Some have simply lost their way
others simply choose invisibility
to cope with this life

We do not see them
because we do not look for them
When we pass them on the street
they do not look up

They are our migrants
the pickers in our fruit orchards
who will not answer us if we ask
for fear of being found

They are our sweepers
the cleaners who scrub our toilets
at the office in the middle of night
disappearing by dawn

They are our Others
of another skin color another faith
from the other side of some border
we do not recognize

Because we are blind
with a blindness of those before us
who never thought they were blind
never wanting to see

Let us open up our eyes
let us turn the tide as a generation
Let’s learn to look for the Invisible
Lend the Voiceless voice

“The rich and the fortunate do well to keep silent,
for no one cares to know who and what they are.
But those in need must reveal themselves
must say: I am blind . . .” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, The Voices

In 1904, Rilke wrote a short series of poems simply entitled, The Voices.
I would like to offer my poet friends on WordPress an invitation to help me put together a collection of poems which we might call ‘The Voices of the Voiceless’
in the spirit of Rilke example. Look out your window. Look out your door. See someone you’ve never seen before. Look into their blindness. Listen to their silence. Let us help give the voiceless a voice.

A copy of the collected poems will be posted on`line, and a hard copy sent to all contributors. Please send any contributions to peternotehelfer@gmail.com, or send me a link if you are posting them on wordpress.com so I might read your verse.  Thank you.

To read the Rilke verses go to www.textlog.de › … › Das Buch der Bilder › Zweites Buch


About Peter Notehelfer

I'm a retired people person who now finds the time to watch the little details of the world without worrying about being watched by anyone . . . I live on an Island north of Seattle with my wife named Ellen, a yellow dog named McGee, a yellow cat named Gatzby, and four fine chickens . . . I read fiction, bake bread, smoke salmon, and fish whenever the weather allows . . . Oh, and yes, I try to write a poem every day simply to avoid senility!
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27 Responses to A Voice for the Voiceless ~ A Poetry Challenge

  1. Love it – I’m in…


  2. mikesteeden says:

    You write of the curse of nations far and wide, Lord knows I see it each and every day in the town where I live. You write of common ground, politics and beliefs out the window…common ground. Thoroughly enjoyed. I have written many similar…none as good as this.


    • Thank you, Sir, for the affirming words. Perhaps you’d consider writing a verse or piece giving voice to one of the voiceless for my effort . . . It would be welcome!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mikesteeden says:

        Thanks for the invite…I do have, in the locker, one that is close to my heart; a piece regarding a subject of those without a voice in Calais ‘Jungle’. I wrote it a year ago when there were just 4,000 refugees and would be migrants trying to get to the UK. There are now 10,000 in the Jungle…nearly 300 unaccompanied children with relatives living in the UK…the UK, in it’s wisdom says ‘no’. I live just across the English Channel in Dover and visit France at least once a month so I know the Jungle quite well;

        Do not worry if this doesn’t fit the profile of your project. I will not be offended in any way at all Sir.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s perfect, Mike: exactly what I was looking for. The challenge here is not to pretend ‘speaking for’ the voiceless, but listening to their voicelessness, seeing their invisibility and shining some light on it . . .

        Thanks for your permission to include it should this project become a reality . . . Blessings! Peter

        On Sat, Sep 24, 2016 at 12:13 AM, Gathering Stones Strung on Threads wrote:


        Liked by 1 person

      • mikesteeden says:

        Eternal thanks…the subject matter is close to my heart, the squalor they live in deplorable.


  3. you and Rilke make a powerful team – you have my promise to try

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: SEPTEMBER DAWN | drycrikjournal

  5. it’s not exactly what you outlined, but it is what came to me

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Inclusion | rivrvlogr

  7. I have just published ‘Boy Migrant’ on Poets Corner, in response to your challenge (https://poetscornerblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/27/boy-migrant/). The poem is deeply felt and has been brewing for some time. Thank you for helping it arrive….. It will also be published this Friday on my WordPress blog, https://thecheesesellerswife.wordpress.com/



    • Thank you Kim, for ‘catching’ the ball when I tossed it! I’m delighted you’ve chosen to be a part of my project. I am going right now to read your poem and I’m sure you’ll be getting another note from me there . . . Blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Jem Croucher says:

    Wonderful words Peter. Perhaps you’d check out ‘Angel’ over at my Jemverse blog on WordPress. Fits quite nicely into the theme I think. Here’s a link – https://jemverse.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/angel/


  9. EnglishLitGeek says:

    Reblogged this on English Lit Geek and commented:
    Invitation to join a collaborative project – “The Voices of the Voiceless”


  10. Hello. I had a visitor to my blog suggest I offer a poem up for this worthy project. Such a wonderful idea.
    My poem is here

    Now I will explore what other wonders are here in your blog.


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