August 17, 2008

Social Work Poetry

In a class on Aboriginal social work I took a while back, the instructor included poetry in the course pack. Previously, we had talked about it and she discussed her thought that social workers can learn from poetry as it often represents things that people will not or can not say out loud. I can't find the poem that introduced us to "social work poetry", but I do remember that it was called "Interview with a Social Worker". If I can find my old course pack, I will post it some other time.

I'm horrible at understanding poetry. I get lost in what the rhythm is supposed to be and lose what the words are trying to say. But I still try. So with this in mind, I offer the first in a series of (not written my me) social work poems:

Another social work poem

I grow daily more tired from trying
To make rich men care about poor children
Their world view such a study in the unreality that is men’s lives

They truly believe that all these children would be well
If their lazy mothers just worked harder
if they left them all alone at night to work another shift?
if they never had the time to see the insides of their schools?
that would be better?

It seems that way to the rich, white men
Because they leave life’s details and their family’s alone
Never knowing what mothers do and don’t do to keep their children well
They leave and they fault mothers for being there still
If money is not
The battles to make them see and care are wearing me
Burning me
 by Lone Star Ma


cb said...

I agree very much that there is a lot to be learnt from poetry. I actually did a presentation using a couple of poems that unfortunately I can't reproduce for copyright reasons (The Interrogator and Night Sister by Elizabeth Jennings - quite hard to find copies online though). I think there is a way that poetry can be much better at describing emotions and emotive reactions than prose. It has a far more fluid tone that leads itself more wholly to the internal thought processes without having to worry about the constraints of grammar or accepted written form.

Reas Kroicowl said...

I, too, have trouble with poetry. Always have.

Anonymous said...

I love the social work poem, even though I also have historically had a rocky relationship with poetry. I think poetry is better when it's gritty though--enter: social workers. Thanks for sharing.

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