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Stay Woke | Athena McClendon


A photo of someone in motion against an orange background with a poem by Athena McClendon titled "Stay Woke" that reads: I rejoice./I dance./I sing.//When I pledge, ... I dream./Knowing that a day will dawn as sure as the sun wakes anew,/bringing the moon to hang above the navel of chaos,/swaying hips to the silent anthems of a God so mighty/that the faintest cry is heard from the womb of freedom/into the bowels of hell "Let my people GO!"//Go where... to do what... for how long?/1620 brought 55,000 slaves through the middle,/others went into the sea,//1865 freed 4 million slaves after the war most uncivil,/that many slaves left Egypt under ol' pharaoh,/1965 a movement saw 19 million descendants of slaves/granted the civil right to vote,/2008 an heir led 306 million citizens and became the 44th president,/first black leader of the free world.//So, we sing!/We dance!/And we rejoice.../giving sound to the annuls of a history so woerul./There is a God who carried us against the waves,/with chains that rattled in accompaniment/to "My Country Tis of Thee"./From the bloodied suits of men who lit the match for equality,/each one gifted with bullets that woke a generation/to the sacred right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness/which begs to be chased.//I will pledge.../I still dream../but now,.../I am wide awake.

In Recognition of Black History Month

Poetry as a Tool for Wellness facilitator Athena McClendon

shares her poem "Stay Woke"


If a line or phrase resonates with you,

we invite you to use it as a starting point to create your own poem.


We welcome you to share your poem with the IPM Poetry Commons.


This poem was included in IPM's February 2023 Newsletter.

Access the full Newsletter here.

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