A Voice for the Voiceless ~ A Poetry Challenge

by Peter Notehelfer
Rainer Maria Rilke by Leonid Pasternak

Rainer Maria Rilke
             by Leonid Pasternak

There is in the land
a rising chorus of the Voiceless
Those who while in the system
remain outside of it

They’re the Invisible
Some have simply lost their way
others simply choose invisibility
to cope with this life

We do not see them
because we do not look for them
When we pass them on the street
they do not look up

They are our migrants
the pickers in our fruit orchards
who will not answer us if we ask
for fear of being found

They are our sweepers
the cleaners who scrub our toilets
at the office in the middle of night
disappearing by dawn

They are our Others
of another skin color another faith
from the other side of some border
we do not recognize

Because we are blind
with a blindness of those before us
who never thought they were blind
never wanting to see

Let us open up our eyes
let us turn the tide as a generation
Let’s learn to look for the Invisible
Lend the Voiceless voice

“The rich and the fortunate do well to keep silent,
for no one cares to know who and what they are.
But those in need must reveal themselves
must say: I am blind . . .” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, The Voices


In 1904, Rilke wrote a short series of poems simply entitled, The VoicesI would like to offer my poet friends on WordPress an invitation to help me put together a collection of poems which we might call ‘The Voices of the Voiceless’ in the spirit of Rilke example. Look out your window. Look out your door. See someone you’ve never seen before. Look into their blindness. Listen to their silence. Let us help give the voiceless a voice. Please send your contribution to me at peternotehelfer@gmail.com or notify me of your post at notehelfer@wordpress.com. Collected sets of the poems will be sent to all the contributors, and our collaborative effort posted on WordPress . . . Blessings!


23 Comments to “A Voice for the Voiceless ~ A Poetry Challenge”

  1. Your poem is outstanding. It reminds me of what my daughter once said to me, when one day she saw someone in need while on the way into the mall to buy an outfit, the mother and sister’s car had run out of gas and they were trying to reach a relatives home in another state. She saw their sadness and she reached into her purse and ask them what was wrong, and they told her their story, and my daughter gave them all the money she had in her purse. I asked her what about your outfit, and she replied their safety is more important Dad…you always help others, and I thought to myself in an instant, this is what you would do. If only we had many more who would touch anothers life bringing smiles alive, without wanting or desiring anything in return Your poem is truly outstanding GOD BLESS!

    • Thank you for the affirming words, Sir, and I love the story of your daughter who gave away her ‘outfit’ so strangers could complete their trip to see family . . . Too often we simply don’t see them when we pass by . . . Blessings!

  2. I made this a sticky for the rest of the week.

  3. Wonderful poem Peter. And, if you need more, perhaps you’d check out ‘Angel’ over at my ‘Jemverse’ blog. Written some tome ago but rather fits the bill I think. Here’s a link – https://jemverse.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/angel/

    • Hello Jem, Thank you for your contribution to my poetry challenge – “A Voice for the Voiceless”. I like it very much and the image of the ‘invisibles’ in our lives as angels in disguise is most compelling . . . Would that we all heard the bell go off a little sooner . . . Thanks a ‘tenner’ . . . Blessings! Peter

      On Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 11:27 PM, Poet's Corner wrote:


  4. I love speaking for the voiceless…. are you still accepting poems? This is a noble idea

    • Yes, Millie, I’ll be accepting contributions through October. Thanks for liking the idea, and please send along your poem for consideration . . . I’d be delighted to read it! Blessings!

  5. Reblogged this on English Lit Geek and commented:
    Invitation to join a collaborative project – “The Voices of the Voiceless”

  6. A noble thought. I will contribute. It has been a while since we were in touch.

    • Yes it has, Venkat! Nice to hear from you and I look forward to reading your verse! Thanks for participating in this project aimed at lifting our eyes and ears above the walls of our insecurity . . . Blessings!

  7. Am a poet also . So please visit
    There are no poetry there yet but I will post in time

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