Poetry Friday: Responsibility and Freedom


For this 4th of July Poetry Friday I’m thinking about Responsibility and Freedom. I’m sharing a poem, some art and a taste from the Charles White art exhibit now at The Art Institute of Chicago. If you are here in the US hope you can share the 4th with some family and friends and reflect for a bit on responsibility and freedom.


Ouch–Children are all our responsibility
Open your hearts, your arms, your backward bias
That homeless child needs gentleness, and your humility
Ouch–Children are all our responsibility
That homeless child craves an end to irrational inadmissibility
Treat them as your own, set aside your petty prejudicial impious
Ouch–Children are all our responsibility
Open your hearts, your arms, your backward bias

© 2018 Michelle Kogan

 Images from the exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, Charles White: A Retrospective,
through September 3, 2018

Charles White was an African American artist, (1918-1979) who created art images about “equality,” and more specifically how equality related to the plight of the African American. He was born in Chicago, and studied at the School of the Art Institute. He was an excellent draftsman, painter, and printmaker. Here is a quote from his interest in “social change,” Paint is the only weapon I have with which to fight what I resent. Visit the Art Institute of Chicago’s website for more on this exhibit.

Drop by Carol at her blog Carol’s Corner for this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup! Thanks for hosting Carol!






About Michelle Kogan Art, Illustration, & Writing

Michelle Kogan is an artist, illustrator, instructor, and writer, creating colorful allegorical figure, flora and fauna paintings and children's illustrations, which have a sensitivity to endangered species, and the environment. She is an art instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Evanston Art Center and offers Plein Air Painting Workshops at nature venues in the Chicago area including the Lincoln Park Conservatory, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and Lurie Gardens at Millennium Park. Visit her online Etsy Shop at: http://www.MichelleKoganFineArt.etsy.com and her website: http://www.michellekogan.com
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12 Responses to Poetry Friday: Responsibility and Freedom

  1. margaretsmn says:

    The woman in the drawing leaning over papers is as I imagine my character in my work in progress. This artwork is so inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

  2. katswhiskers says:

    What incredible talent. I’m drawn to that little lad in the bottom left corner. Wondering what was written by way of explanation for that piece – the symbolism behind the triangle? Or is it a string/elastics game?

  3. lindabaie says:

    There are several that touch me, seeming to show the terrible yearning for better, for freedom, especially that second one, by the Langston Hughes, two sisters? mother and daughter? looking out at the world that they want to be in. Thanks, Michelle, and yes, “Ouch–Children are all our responsibility”. It’s sorrowful to imagine that there are those who do not believe that.

  4. haitiruth says:

    I just got to see that wonderful Charles White exhibition. His work is AMAZING. I like your poem, too. Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

  5. carwilc says:

    What a beautiful combination, Michelle. Your art and your words are so, so poignant, and captured what I cannot even begin to articulate right now. I also love Charles White’s work. He’s new to me, but I’m definitely going to have to check out this exhibit. I wish I was going to Chicago so I could see this myself.

  6. mbhmaine says:

    Responsibility and freedom. An important pairing of words and beautifully accompanied by Charles White’s work. It’s so powerful. With his quote in mind, I just spent time looking at the images closer and was drawn to the subjects’ eyes. Wow!

  7. Tabatha says:

    I like your artwork at the top, Michelle. Thanks for linking “responsibility” and “freedom.”

  8. Kay Mcgriff says:

    yes, indeed, ouch for the children and those families and may many more of us open our minds and hearts to their plight and welcome them. Thank you for sharing both your art (freedom and responsibility must go together) and for sharing Charles White’s art. Those are some powerful paints he wields.

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