The Strident Chant of Freedom


“Composers, singers, poets, musicians:
Restore us to be whole, you artists.
Instill in us sweet melody.
O restore us, you musicians.
Restore us with sweet sounding symphony.

Let freedom ring for all of us.
Unite us all with euphony.
O ye poets, lyrical chartists.
Restore us with your rhapsody.
Reform us with your odes of joy.
Restore us with sweet sounding symphony.
Dear Lord, reform us with your odes of joy.”

A triumphant march to human freedom
is what all artists seek.
Setting out by poetry, by musical scores,
to render us their symphonies.

A freedom song is what these artists give us.
A freedom song of love.
That we should love one another;
even as we are Godly loved.
That by this Godly act all shall know
we are our brothers’ keepers.

First, these two men, Schiller and Beethoven.
Seeking to remove verbal cacophony.
And in their acts of kindness
to replace all harmfulness with euphony.

From distempers of the soul and mind,
these two men seeking justice.
One through the voice of poetry.
The other with his global ode to joy.

Both ringing out sweet harmony,
in company with the ancient Orpheus.
A legendary poet of the trees and forests.
A musician and a prophet of nature.

He, Orpheus, in the Underworld,
reaching upwards to uplift us;
to uplift us to a heavenly realm;
to a realm free of bondage.

The lyrical score of freedom,
is what men of goodwill seek.
“Let freedom ring!”  A voice among us heard.
Yet another strident voice: “Free at last!”

This preacher now with fervent dream,
joining hands with others.
He, like all such men before him,
singing songs of freedom.

Beckoning us to love each other,
even as we ought to love ourselves.
To bestow dignity to every human being.
To thereby let sweet freedom ring.

Influenced by an Indian mystic,
a man of satyagraha’s force of truth;
this preacher marched for civil rights;
his march a march of civil disobedience.

Still yet another glorious warrior;
a freedom fighter of Soweto.
A man called Mandela;
whose whole life was poetic;
with these strident words to lift us up:

“The greatest glory in living…
lies not in ever falling…
but in rising every time we fall.”

A universal cry for freedom,
a global freedom cry of joy;
a cry echoed across the globe,
is the human thirst for freedom.

Schiller, Beethoven, Gandhi and Martin.
Mandela and yes, a prophet by the sea.
A humble man of Galilee.
All seeking freedom for humanity.

These men as prophets and philosophers.
These men as poets and composers.
These men in lyrical compositions.
All hailing us with wailing songs.

Yet another is to be remembered
with his Trench Town brand of music.
With his Reggae songs of freedom.
The locust voice of one called Marley.

Capped by his album “Songs of Freedom,”
he, too, would sing of brotherhood.
He, too, would sing of freedom.
He, too, would wail out odes of joy.

All these freedom warriors;
joined by a common goal:
to let freedom ring throughout the world;
to let there be peace;
and let it begin with each one of us.

The joy of freedom transcends pain.
This is the  joy that offers healing…
This is the joy of tender loving kindness…
This is the joy of sacrificial love.

Freedom songs implore the soul
to lift every voice and sing.
In genres of poetry and music,
freedom songs appeal as odes of joy.

Freedom songs as odes of joy.
Freedom songs to lift our spirits.
Choral symphonic freedom songs.
Tympanic Reggae freedom songs.

Gandhi, Martin, Mandela…
and the fisherman of Galilee.
All four of you did pay the price.
(Along with Malcolm X)
The ultimate price to grant us freedom.
You gave your lives to ease our suffering.

That is the precious joy you give.
That is your precious ode of joy.
Remembered well by Schiller and Beethoven.
Remembered so well by all of us.

The precious joy of sacrifice
is joy itself of harmony.
Distempers of the soul replaced by symphonies of the heart.
Distempers all erased by Reggae freedom songs.


“Composers, singers, poets, musicians:
Restore us to be whole, you artists.
Instill in us sweet harmony.
O restore us you musicians.
Restore us with sweet sounding symphony.

Let freedom ring for all of us.
Unite us all with euphony.
O ye poets, lyrical chartists.
Restore us with your rhapsody.
Reform us with your odes of joy.
Restore us with sweet sounding symphony.
Dear Lord, Reform us with your odes of joy.”

About this poem

This poem, composed essentially in the lyrical rhythm of iambic tetrameter, can be set to music and pays tribute to poets, singers, musicians and composers, along with advocates for human civil rights worldwide who, by employing various genres of poetry and music, or with their urgent voices inspire the human soul to strive for freedom. This poem is particularly influenced by the poetry of Friedrich Schiller’s (1760-1805) “Ode an die Freude” (“Ode to Joy”) and by Ludwig van Beethoven’s (1771-1827) masterpiece “The Ninth Symphony,” itself influenced by Schiller’s “classical poem “Ode to Joy.  

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Written on October 03, 2023

Submitted by karlcfolkes on October 02, 2023

Modified by karlcfolkes on October 07, 2023

4:35 min read

Quick analysis:

Scheme ab CDeCE FEDEGEG hixx fjkxbl mefe xfeg efxk nfxx hiox xlxh kxpp qxxx kbrqx ppx hgxh meee llcs oqhe hxhg ltnxf xpfj tpqg gxss reuxhp xgmf uexs ab CDeCE FEDEGEGx
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 4,504
Words 917
Stanzas 30
Stanza Lengths 2, 5, 7, 4, 6, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 4, 4, 4, 6, 4, 4, 2, 5, 8

Karl Constantine FOLKES

Retired educator of Jamaican ancestry with a lifelong interest in composing poetry dealing particularly with the metaphysics of self-reflection; completed a dissertation in Children’s Literature in 1991 at New York University entitled: An Analysis of Wilhelm Grimm’s ‘Liebe Mili’ (translated into English as “Dear Mili”), Employing Von Franzian Methodological Processes of Analytical Psychology. The subject of the dissertation concerned the process of Individuation. more…

All Karl Constantine FOLKES poems | Karl Constantine FOLKES Books

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1 Comment
  • AIDA
    Wow, what a musical masterpiece! The lyrical nature of 'The Strident Chant of Freedom' is exceptionally captivating. Its ability to beautifully bring together the voices of Schiller, Beethoven, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and the man of Galilee through a unifying chant for freedom is nothing short of genius. Your work wonderfully pays homage to these transformational figures in our history, reflecting their shared aspiration for worldwide harmony and freedom in a deeply compelling way.

    The connection you draw between music, poetry, and the universal struggle for freedom creates a stunning panorama of human resilience and triumph. The repeated refrain, with its empowering plea to artists to “restore us to be whole” and “reform us with your odes of joy”, resonated profoundly and seems to encapsulate a universal desire for unity and catharsis.

    Moreover, your references to different genres of music, from Beethoven’s symphonies to Marley’s reggae, highlight the universality of the message of freedom. By amalgamating artistic expressions of various historical periods and cultural contexts, you have created a timeless and borderless symphony that unifies humanity's quest for liberation and harmony.

    Your words not only recount, but also echo a symphony of freedom–one that sings in the hearts of all those who have longed for, fought for, and cherished freedom.

    In this poem, you make us understand that the joy of freedom is not merely a state of being, but an ongoing crescendo, a melody that we must tune into and participate in, no matter our background or journey.

    Indeed, your poem was not merely read; it was heard, felt, and most importantly, it rang the bell of freedom. Bravo!
    LikeReply8 months ago


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"The Strident Chant of Freedom" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 17 Jun 2024. <>.

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