Of Heroes and Heartbreak

As children, the world seemed so endless.

 Envious of its depth we ran to see it all-

our oversized hearts didn’t know how to fall,

so we took leap after leap of faith.

We raced,

towards blue skies and steady dreams

that teemed with new adventures.


And yet our biggest endeavor was ever on our minds,

we would find that through every sincere smile to a friend in need

that our creed was rising from its foundation.

Each inhalation of innocent breath

was met with the realization that we were practicing

for the biggest test of our lives.

Yet despite the intricacy of our planning

we knew the demanding truth.

 That our big test was comprised of Just three words-

“Save the world,"


You see, before we could even write cursive

we were subversively exposed to suffering-

wondering why we came to school with new shoes,

while troublesome tommy’s parents would choose

to send their son to school each day with another scar.

Marring him with the unbiased hand of alcoholism:

forming a schism in his heart so wide

 he could hide all the dreams he would eventually give up on.



 From the beginning, misery was sketched into our lives,

driving us to reach for the crayons so we could

demand justice and color in a sunrise amid desolate skies.

We faced down dreary days as soilders carved into little boys and girls .                                                                  



We hurled ourselves at this quest;

putting our best foot forward

hoping we would step into a future worth fighting for.

The door to our dreams shone bright in the distance

and we knew there would be resistance

but we pushed on.



We dawned our game faces and trudged off

into places of despair-

hoping to share someone’s burden long enough to let them know they’re not alone.

And though the road ahead was unknown, we kept going-

knowing that we could be heroes

like the ones we zeroed in on every Saturday morning.

Adorning our minds with the knowledge that we could be superman too.

We knew, as we went to bed and the moon shimmered in our sights

that our parents weren’t saying goodnight to a normal kid, no.

They were tucking in a legend.


We were so confident that  we would pass this test

but I must confess I sit here now wondering-

have we already failed?

Was that train of thought derailed before it ever arrived at our answer?

Did we let the cancer of hatred snuff out hope’s humble light,

before it ever reached the sight of those living in darkness?

Have we traded in our capes for ties, have we succumbed to the lies

as we try to ignore the smell of suffering in the air?

Has despair become the white noise that lulls us back into our nightmares?

Does not caring allow us to feel better about doing nothing?

As if running to reassign responsibility makes the problem go away.

And even as I say these words I see that the questions are irrelevant

because we all know the answers. 

They pander to us every day as we look in the mirror

and it becomes clear that we have all given up.



Today I showcase my hypocrisy,

because I gave up just as easily.

My optimism turned to to pacifism in the fight

against apathy and reality became too much.

So I used my frustration as a crutch

 and I asked “How?”

How can I save the world?

When somewhere a mother curls around

The shivering frame of a 12 year old boy like a crescent moon

In the silent stillness of a hospital room.

She tries her best to sing her son to sleep;

keeping the small head against her chest so

he can rest: so he can fall asleep

to the sound of his mother’s heartbeat,

so he can have some semblance of peace

as he tries to creak out another fragile breath.

Death looming like the cab ride home

that we pray, for once, will be late.


 How do I make a difference when there’s so much hate, so much doubt?

When, even now, we stand in the ashes of a political fallout

where both sides use fear and ignorance

as the malignant breeding ground for hostility.

In reality, they are two heads of the same beast

and each feasts exclusively on its own viewpoints,

anointing leaders that echo the time- tested theory

that clearly, someone who doesn’t believe what you beleve is evil.

They receive relief in knowing they can jump to conclusions

instead of facing the intrusion of having to walk in someone else’s shoes.

No, it’s all red versus blue- cementing division as status quo in a world desperate for change.


And it’s strange but maybe the change needs to start with  us swallowing our pride

and accepting that in the darkest times- we can never be the sun.

We want to be.

We want to be the glow that greets each morning-

ending shadows scattering with a warning that they will pay

for every heart they break.


It's a mistake- we cannot be the sun.

Because it is the stunning blackness of night where the importance of our fight reaches new heights.

So be a nightlight: reminding us that you don’t need to be very big or very bright

to make the world a little less frightening for someone else.

I tell you this because the kid in me says we can save the world

but he can’t do it alone.

A poem will not stunt the growth of sadness on the earth,

but if we all search for hope and call it home with compassion

I’d imagine we stand a chance. If we snap out of this trance:

If we stop dancing around the issue and clinging to our ignorance,

Maybe we could make a difference.

And I know what you’re going to say: “we can’t save everyone”.

Well no . No we can’t. Despite my rant, there will always be pain,

sorrow may forever remain , but nobody should have to bear that burden alone.

How dare we do nothing- when our arms could be home for someone evicted from their happiness.


Yes, maybe we’ve failed our test- but we were studying for the wrong exam.

our plan was to save everybody, but buddy you gotta remember

everybody is a SOMEBODY.

So save somebody- dry their tears with a gentle hand,

demand nothing of them except for to make it to tomorrow: love without restraint.

Paint a picture of every color;

reach out to a brother or a sister trying to exist on the same canvas.


Alas, I tell you these things not because I know the answers to the travesties we face.

No rhyme will erase darkness from our days.

But I say these things with the hope that with each word, my voice

will reach the hero in you, and with renewed confidence they’ll say:

“It is time to put on your cape”


This poem is about: 
Our world
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 


Additional Resources

Get AI Feedback on your poem

Interested in feedback on your poem? Try our AI Feedback tool.


If You Need Support

If you ever need help or support, we trust CrisisTextline.org for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741