Classics · My Poetry

“You Can”: a poem about Les Misérables

Despised
Rejected
Afraid to trust
And boiling over with
Anger
Until an unexpected kindness
And a pair of silver candlesticks
Change everything

A woman coughs up blood
Teeth missing
Hair shorn
All she had sacrificed
For a child she loved more
Than her own life
You can’t save her
But you can save
Her daughter

A little girl
Frightened of wolves in the woods
With a broom
And a bucket of water
Dressed in tattered rags
Dreaming of a fairy-tale escape
A castle on a cloud
You can’t give her that
But you can give her
A helping hand
A doll
And a better future

A blaze of anger
Revolution
Erupting like a wildfire
Like a gunshot
Gunshots break through silence
The streets run red with blood
You can’t save them all
But you can save
One

A hunter
Cornered by his prey
Expecting vengeance
Finding mercy
You can’t save him from himself
But you can
Try

A crime committed long ago
But not forgotten
A pair of silver candlesticks
Lighting the way
Guiding you to those
In need of
Help
You can’t erase the past
But you can change
The future