Dear Confessional,

I absolutely love writing poetry. I love it so much that in my own blank space of thoughts, I constantly make up poems about anything in my head. Something about the rhythm and melody of the words just moves me—it makes me feel so vulnerable and connected. I published my first poem when I was only 7.5 years old. From the moment that I was able to write, I was reveling in my own private world on paper.

One of the most personally impactful pieces that I have written and not yet published still resonates with me today, even more so now because of the relevance to current events. You see, I am the biggest proponent of strong people. Not physically strong, but emotionally unstoppable—people who are selfless and brave and wholehearted. Maybe a part of myself identifies with inspiring strength through weakness; finding the light through darkness; discovering motivation and empowerment through pain. I have always admired and worked to emulate the qualities in those who are passionate, giving, positive, and relentless in the pursuit for fairness and freedom.

As Harriet Tubman has been named to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, I find it only fitting to offer my personal tribute in her honor with a poem that I wrote back in 1996.

The Underground

Born in darkness, color of night

suppressed by living, suppressed by life

lingers a child denied from light

of a Maryland moon upon a bony face

battered, bruised with black-like stain.

Piercing cries replace

the resonance of a black whip beating night

upon a black exterior.

As gales wailing, waning groans grasp a might

expelled through song

of oppression and search for salvation.

Pieces of earth fall from a face from the grave after days so long;

and so she rises with the same shovel

to dig, to live. To hide among the color of night,

she fights for life through strife. Her tunnel

guides the weak, weaving finger upon finger

hand by hand creating an extraordinary force.

Fighting for freedom, her name lingers

through the air as trees whisper secrets,

humming a hymn in harmony with sound

of bare feet pit-pattering and placing permanent impressions upon solid ground.

As wisps of words whistle within strands of hair,

those who walked the path of Tubman found

themselves in Maryland, 1850, somewhere.

“Down in the waters,

down in the waters children” extend aged hands

to a black “Moses.” As now stands

death, stands life. Fate is immortality with a gun

who casts the coward within

those who turn and run.

Born in darkness, color of night

suppressed by living in terror and strife

lingers the woman who guides the light.

So much admiration and respect for this incredible individual.

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” — Harriet Tubman

with Love,