Stephen Byrne – Raise Your Heads


stop looking at the ground
stop glaring at your phones
stop hiding under rocks
stop drowning beneath the sea
stop avoiding the eyes
of someone in need
stop social media lies
stop the bullies who hide
between the tapping
of their laptop keys
stop pretending to care
for a facebook share & stop
stop stop drop some change
here & there

raise your heads
raise your fucking heads high
raise your chins towards the evening sky
without asking why because you know why
raise your heads to the tip of a nuclear warhead
& the men who move it on the chessboard
raise your heads to the child stone dead
buried deep in the rubble of tenements
raise your heads to Gaza, Yemen, Ferguson, Chibok
to Charlottesville & Aleppo, to Chad, Mexico, Sudan
raise your heads to the aftermath of Grenfell Tower
raise your heads to the person with sore feet
two blocks down asking for change
raise your heads to the dying bee
raise your heads to the powers that be
in charge of the world of bigotry
raise your heads to police brutality
raise your heads to a refugee
unwanted unloved in a hateful media sea
raise your heads to that sea
that rising brutal sea
spat forth from the ice of the Arctic belly
raise your fucking heads
raise them high
raise them hard
raise them as closed fists
ready to punch & defend
raise your heads
from the ground people
your heads

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Stephen Byrne
Stephen Byrne is a chef and writer originally from Dublin and now lives in Chicago. His debut book 'Somewhere but not Here' was selected by Vinita Agrawal for the RL Poetry Award, 2016 International category. He was runner up in the 2016 and twice shortlisted for the ‘Over the Edge’ poetry competition. He was also shortlisted for The Redline Book Festival Poetry Competition 2014 and recently selected for the TCK Productions competition in London He has been published worldwide and writes on his site