Towards Freedom – A Poem

Below is a poem that was originally sold at the Amnesty bookshop in London. It was composed to mark a number of decades of writing for human rights. We thought it would be a really positive contribution to our site, and a great first post for our blog. We hope you enjoy the poem as much we did!

Towards Freedom



with everyone working
for human rights for all



Go to the nearest, high mountain
interpret the tale that it tells
Held close, deep down in its bosom
the heart of humanity dwells

Born over and over again
exploding from earth’s molten womb
Yet, still more resurrections wait
in earth’s geological tomb

Another tumultuous tale
of struggle and impassioned fight
Is the one for freedom of speech
to win it is everyone’s right

Go from your nearest, high mountain
bolder and brimful of yearning
Strive now for the highest ideals
for time will not be returning



Go next to the long, swift river
and follow the epic it knows
The quickening swelling within
every drop of essence that flows

With a cargo of liquid code
the banks of memory are filled
To rise up and pour down again
a deluge of portents is spilled

The course of an epic movement
must be held with all of our might
Freedom from poverty for one
and for all hard-pressed in such plight

Go from your long and swift river
raised up by a more caring creed
There’s salve for us all if we share
or all are forsaken indeed



Go over to the rolling moor
study the homily it holds
Nature’s untamed rotation
and all plans of change it enfolds

From the first cellular chaos
and shapes too many to measure
The multi-cellular pattern
endlessly gives up its treasure

A homily overwhelming
with need for freedom of movement
A just law must break down the walls
and chains of inhuman treatment

Go from your untamed, rolling moor
with burgeoning reasons to toil
Determined to claim right of way
alongside the turn of the soil



Go through the vast, hazy desert
discover a saga in land
he weight of our knowledge is shifting
in each grain of sense in the sand

Colliding in the crucible
a mirage of moments may meet
infinitesimal power
of heat’s overpowering beat

The ancient saga of suffering
always young and old in all ways
Demands a freedom from slavery
as loud and as long as the days

Go from your vast, hazy desert
the blind-fold now thrown from mind’s-eye
Human liberty, life and limb
not one single person can buy



Go along the harsh, steep canyon
unwind the chronicle within
Still forwards, onwards and downwards
all rock wraps around kith and kin

All serried the strata press round
blood out and pressed into the stone
Rock hard in the grip of the past
pulse stops inside cages of bone

Chronicle of rights from the start
through erosion and digression
Still pushes up and down the gorge
for our freedom from repression

Go from your harsh and steep canyon
with an irrepressible aim
Shoulder to shoulder with others
working hard for what we proclaim



Go beside the large, brimming lake
reflect on the legend it keeps
Primordial flooding and tears
and all those that our life now weeps

The wise immemorial bowl
scraped and scooped right out of the ground
Still fills up from emptying skies
and the catch and fall all around

More truths than myths in the legend
of freedom from torture and fear
No drowning the unquiet cries
that are much more real than we hear

Go from your still brimming, large lake
more ready to listen to walls
See the darkness held under lights
each enlightened vision recalls



Go into the mighty forest
find the message grown in the ground
Immense and impalpable life
has its origin all around

To evolve is in our nature
all breathing in and breathing out
Life’s a chance in earthly bodies
of that, there is so little doubt

The genesis of the message
comes from its own diversity
For freedom of expression
grows right on through adversity

Go from your dense, mighty forest
both stronger and more vigorous
For vital signs to move and grow
resolve must be so rigorous



Go on to the wide, reaching beach
learn the parable it teaches
The power of each pebble’s pulse
beats on the distance it reaches

Wrestling on such restless edges
where sky, sea and all lands are thrown
Face of the earth changing places
where unrest of the world is blown

Point of the parable is honed
for freedom of information
We choose the part we may play
in foolish or wise confrontation

Go from your far-reaching, wide beach
to take up the cause from the sands
Knowledge is the weapon of choice
that a noble battle demands



Go inside the great, covered cave
unlock the statement kept in there
Though the proof of life is unseen
capture is live in the dark lair

All beneath is so full of holes
with each point of light long withdrawn
The evidence of existence
in all nights and days blind from dawn

The mind must hold on to the key
to our freedom from oppression
A statement from those who’ve suffered
the hardship of state aggression

Go from your long-covered, great cave
empowered by the action you take
Bear witness to power’s misuse
And let us not fear for fear’s sake



Go past the furthest, deep valley
unearth the good story it gives
Of memory, learning and more
of vision that each of us lives

When the whole is rend asunder
divided in life and in death
Earth inherits our infancy
but soul is beyond any breath

The fight for freedom of conscience
is truly a story of ours
The stories of compassion
are perpetuity’s finest hours

To go beyond your deep valley
is where each one’s courage will call
Freedom for humanity
is in the friendship of one and of all


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