You Say: A Poem

Hello, lovelies!

Tonight I'm typing out a late night Friday post instead of one of my scheduled ones (I know, we're getting crazy now). I was going to pull out the "I'm sorry for being a bad blogger" card, but I don't think that's what you're here to read. Long story short, exam week is before our Christmas break this year, and that means this weekend I'm cramming for exams, prepping for my ACT, Christmas parties with friends, and being involved in my Living Hope activities. Good grief, it's a lot! I'm *this* close to becoming a hermit in the wilderness so that I don't have to deal with it all. (Henry David Thoreau, anyone?)

Either way, I figured a post was in order, so I have a poem that I wrote for my communications class that focuses on the fact that academic pressure has more of a toll than sometimes I think teachers and other people realize. It's a kind of poetry known as "spoken word" poetry, meaning it's meant to be read aloud for the most effect. (Which we did in class, and yes, it was a bit nerve-wracking.) It's longer than most of my poems, which I like to keep short and sweet, but I think it's one of my best nonetheless.

I hope you enjoy it, and as always, please feel free to leave me feedback in the comments. (:

* * *

“You Say”

You say we’re not our grade, but your disappointment tells me otherwise.
She’s walking in with dark smudges under her eyes,
The circles prominent like bruises.
He’s struggling to stay awake through lectures and lies,
The words bleeding like excuses.
We’re drowning in expectations, in people saying we need this to survive.
But not dying is not the same as living, and no one can tell if we’re alive.
You say we’re not our grade, but we wear it like a scarlet letter.
He’s clutching that yellow number two pencil,
As if it can save him from himself.
She’s downing another bitter, black roast coffee,
As if it can rescue her from all that she’s felt.
Stinging paper cuts lace our fingers
From the frantic turning of textbook pages;
We’re dancing to a deadly rhythm
With grimaces on our faces.
You say we’re not our grade, but the pressure tells me otherwise.
She dreads coming to school, dreads faking everything is okay,
He hates the way the teachers look at him, hates struggling every day.
We’re weighted by pressures
That turn the most courageous into stone,
And though pressure turns coal into diamonds,
We’ve never felt so alone.
You say we’re not our grade, but we carry it like a ball and chain.
She’s shackled to a taunting keyboard,
Exhaustedly typing in the dead of night.
He’s choking down a daunting equation,
Wearily cramming in the morning light.
Our hands are stained red with the ink of broken dreams;
Of essays worth more than our sanity,
We’ve been crowned the kings and queens.
You say we’re not our grade, but the darkness tells me otherwise.
She’s sinking, drowning, pleading out a whispered prayer.
He’s begging, gasping, clawing out for a breath of air.
We’ve been flung from the ship called Titanic,
Among icebergs far from shore.
But instead of throwing us a lifeline,
They only pile us in among more.
We reek of fear and failure,
But all we want is to be free
From the lies that are our prisons.
Is that something you can promise me?
You say we’re not our grade,
Yes, you say it every day.
But I’ll stand and say it again and again,

“This poem tells me otherwise.”

* * *

That is all.


(PS: My birthday is coming up! Huzzah! Next week Saturday, the 19th, is going to be a day of blogging celebrations, so get hyped.)


  1. Wow! Seana, this poem is amazing!!!
    I'm lucky I'm out of school now (in England we get to leave at 16! :) ) but I definitely relate to this, I broke down crying to one of my teachers once because I couldn't cope, used to fake ill because I hated being there because of the pressure.
    It gets better though, honestly, it's so freeing once you're out!
    Take care!
    -Cait xx

    1. Thank you! Glad you liked it. (:

      You get out of school at age 16?! That seems so foreign to me. We graduate high school at age 18 about, and then we're off to college (university for you, I believe).

  2. Yeah, thank god! We have college next, though, where we do our A-Levels (a 2 year course), which I think is like your last 2 years of high school, and at 18 we can then go to uni, which yeah, I think it's like your college

    1. Oh, okay. So your high school experience is technically split into two parts . . . that's still so confusing to me. (: It's actually kind of funny how different school levels seem in other countries even though they're basically the same idea.

  3. yeah, I guess, although college isn't compulsory since we do GCSEs at 16 (which I guess are like your Finals)
    -Cait xx


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