Identity by Julio Noboa Polanco.

This is a poem that seems to be used regularly in poetry classes to teach about literary devices such as the use of opposites, and extended metaphor but it also appears frequently in the syllabus of English Language Arts classes about minority voices and diversity and Sociology programs about the subject of Identity itself.

I have not yet managed to find any biographical information about the poet, unfortunately! I think that he is Mexican but I have nothing to back this up! If you know anything about him please feel free to comment. I’m sharingthis one just because I came across it on the internet and I liked it. I hope you do too. Have a nice day!

IDENTITY

Let them be as flowers,
always watered, fed, guarded, admired,
but harnessed to a pot of dirt.

I’d rather be a tall, ugly weed,
clinging on cliffs, like an eagle
wind-wavering above high, jagged rocks.

To have broken through the surface of stone,
to live, to feel exposed to the madness
of the vast, eternal sky.

To be swayed by the breezes of an ancient sea,
carrying my soul, my seed,
beyond the mountains of time or into the abyss of the bizarre.

I’d rather be unseen, and if
then shunned by everyone,
than to be a pleasant-smelling flower,

growing in clusters in the fertile valley,
where they’re praised, handled, and plucked
by greedy, human hands.

I’d rather smell of musty, green stench
than of sweet, fragrant lilac.
If I could stand alone, strong and free,
I’d rather be a tall, ugly weed.

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