Whose story can I tell?

As I consume news stories about people worldwide in different situations, I try to imagine how they feel and write poems about them. The other day I was wondering if it was actually appropriate to do so, since these are people I have never met in my life, and I don’t actually know how they feel besides how things are portrayed in the media. I have written about refugees, Afghan women, Olympic athletes and tried to capture the emotions that they might have, but this is purely conjectural on my part. This poem highlights my dilemma..

How do I write authentically?

When I write, does everything have to be about me?

What if I try to tell a story that is not mine?

Try to inhabit someone else’s mind

In words, try to bring into existence

Another human being’s very different experience?


I read, hear, watch stories of people in crises everywhere

I share nothing in common with them, I’m aware

I’ve never met them, first-hand I do not know

How they really feel, what the media shows

Is all I can base my understanding on

Sometimes stories are shared by those who have undergone

Hardships in life, that I consume and am moved by

But telling their stories in my words, is it even appropriate to try?


I can include only my experiences in my writing content

But my predictable life is limited in the extent

To which it can generate ideas compelling

There is not as much in my life worth telling

As in that of people in different circumstances worldwide

But in writing about them, am I accurately representing their side?


I have tried to imagine and write about

Refugees, war-victims, victims of violent crimes, and no doubt

I cannot fathom how they feel in their lives

I try to honor their indomitable spirit to survive

Despite the hardships that they continually face

Therefore, even though I may be quite out of my place

To write about people I have never met

I write about them, as a gesture of my respect

Published by iheart11

A 30-something year old woman, physician by profession, fiercely passionate about work, family, travel and fashion..

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