[Poetry Friday] Running To and Running From

Myra here.

Thank you to the amazing Irene @ Live Your Poem for hosting this week.


Overground Railroad [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Lesa Cline-Ransome Illustrated by James Ransome
Published by Holiday House (2020).
ISBN: 9780823438730 (ISBN10: 0823438732). Borrowed from Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

Last week, I shared The Great Migration: Journey To The North. Today, I am happy to share another title that can serve as a perfect companion text to The Great Migration.

In the Author’s Note, Lesa Cline Ransome provided an overview of what the Overground Railroad refers to:

… the railway system that carried millions of blacks who left the South during the Great Migration. At times, this system was as much a covert operation as the Underground Railroad, as the owners of farms who operated tenant farms, also called sharecropping, used threats of violence and other tactics to prevent workers from leaving.

This aspect of migration and the clandestine efforts required to emancipate one’s self is not really as adequately portrayed in the literature as it should be. Most people tend to think of migration as a matter of choice or convenience – not realizing that for others, it is a matter of survival, and one that can cost them their lives.


Told in verse, I appreciated the intertextuality very subtly introduced into the narrative, as the main protagonist, a young girl, was shown to read Frederick Douglass’s book as she was on the train – running from a life forcing them into submission – and running towards a place that they hope would provide them some form of deliverance.


My Poetry Friday offering, though, is the image below that resonated deeply with me: with this hopeful, radiant, smiling face looking forward to living a dream she sees behind those bright eyes.


As we send off our daughter to study in a university in the United States in the fall, this feeling of “running from and running to at the same time” resonates more than ever.

How about you, Poetry Friday community: what are you running from and running to?

#SurvivalStories2021 Update: 50 out of target 100

May 14, 2021 at 06:30AM Myra Garces-Bacsal