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a poem for everyone

"Trapped" by Lisa P.

I started a Forensics elective at SIS in 2012, seeing the need for kids to explore their lives, find their voice, and experience confidence in both presentations and simply the day-to-day interactions with others.  I have to say that as SIS shifts its focus to STEAM education next year, I am sad to see this elective come to a close as I leave the school to move onto a new country and school.  

There have been incredible original pieces created by students in these years of Forensics, and this one I simply had to share.  Even as adults, I believe that we can empathize with this feeling that Lisa, a sophomore, articulates in her poem.  I am absolutely proud, of course, of my students for using the language techniques that they learned in the class, whether it be anaphora, metaphor, simile, imagery, epistrophe, anadiplosis, chiasmus… you name it, and they rocked it.  However, I am forever touched by the power of my students’ words and their ability to reach deep down inside themselves to explore Life.  

As a teacher, I followed up with Lisa to ensure that she was all right.  That she was expressing in words what we sometimes feel, but that she wasn’t on the verge of being a danger to herself.  But she shared with me that these feelings are feelings that we all can identify with, and as she struggles to be the empowering friend that she can be to her particular friend who is especially struggling these days, she wanted me to know: “Ms. Cho, I’m okay.  She will be, but I just needed everyone to know that we’re not alone when we feel this way.”


Here is her introduction and poem, and I hope you’ll leave a comment to empower her just the same… and by default, her struggling friend.



Have you ever used the phrase ‘I’m so depressed’? Have you ever had gut-wrenching feelings of sadness, anger, frustration or defeat drown you, wave after wave weighing you down? Have you ever attempted to do something that went beyond your reach… yet all you could do was recoil and shrink back into desperation? 

1 in 4 people are affected by a mental illness at some point in their lives. Through watching Buzzfeed videos on Youtube, I became inspired by Mental Health Week and it really centered my attention on how little of the experience we actually understand. We may not be able to completely relate to depression or anxiety as an illness, despite being able to experience both. I can guarantee we’ve all experienced times in life when we feel like we are trapped by loneliness, because the world is just closing in on you. 

I myself can say I’ve been through hard times, and I know many people who have, too. Therefore I wanted to show anyone that has had a hard time that there are people who can understand and empathise with you to the best of their abilities and to try to display the experience of what people go through. I want to show you that there is more to mental illnesses than meets the eye. I want to show you that a word like ‘depressed’ doesn't just mean sad; it means desperation, incapability and defeat. Therefore I present to you my poem, which I hope through general knowledge, incorporation of my own personal situations and experience of others, can help begin to [articulate your own feelings to conclude that you’re not alone].

by Lisa P.

The outside seems but picture perfect

A house, a family, education

Financial support, a bright future

All a chamber when you have no wings to fly

I feel trapped

Colours swirl and disappear 

Because behind the image and photo and film

I know a world that sees a difference

Look at me

I’m fine, healthy, glowing even

But behind these doors

I’m yelling and screaming

I feel trapped

Trapped in a home with a door to leave

Where day after day I still depart free

Yet come home in the dark feeling empty

To have it all used to mean

Hard cash, clothes and material things

But now I see it means absolutely nothing

When you don’t have any freedom

I feel trapped

A new definition that shines brightly 

Glowing in my face


Day after day, week after week

My thoughts go wild

And then dissolve

A wildfire blazes through my mind

I feel trapped

Longing for the days when I could soar

Spread my wings and reach for the sky

Until that dreadful day you clipped them dry


Used to be so easily achieved

But it wasn’t until now that I can see

What the want for it has done to me

I feel trapped

Because of you

Holding me back, limiting me

Laying out the boundaries

You’ve caged me in

And pushed me out

Thinking you’ve done good

Thinking you’ve done all that you could

I feel trapped

Yet I am free

My words burrow deeper with each passing day

Locked in the back chamber when they should have been freed

Expectations pressure me

Eyes watch me with disbelief

“It’s all in your mind” they said

“You’ll feel better soon” they said

I feel trapped

Don’t tell me that I’m confused

I am me who’s simply afflicted

By a new light and path that’s waiting for me

You can give me words, give me pills 

You can lock me away

Try to fix my thrills

But you can’t hide that I am ill

I feel trapped

A puppet in a world of strings

With no will, no way

Waiting for a day they’ll be torn

I wait and I wait

With each passing moment

Eyes dry but they could fill an ocean

Letting each hand pass on the clock

I feel trapped

And not just because I have no wings

But because you’ve taken me for sin

Shooed in shame and humiliation

My sorrow turns to anger

Every inch of me wants to flee

To find a place where I can be

At bliss

I feel trapped

By the words you use on me

But don’t forget

You are the one that made me

No chances are given

Instead replaced with chains

You think that by holding me

You’ll be helping me change

I feel trapped

And I wish you could see

How the unseeable bars of guilt hold me

How something so small could do so much

Better to beg forgiveness 

Than to plead permission

You can keep the evil from me

But you can’t keep me from the evil

I feel trapped

And alone in a world that’s my own

Can’t be heard or understood

So I am excused

The calendar stands blank

I see no more joyous days

So I look to something above it all

I look to find new ways

I feel trapped

And I’ve lost all hope

There is no understanding, no lenience, no pity

So I let myself slip down the slope

I allow every little tear

I allow every new rip

Whether it be from fingernails

Or a knife trail

I feel trapped

And I let myself hurt

Knowing that at least these wounds

Will still find a way to heal

I let my emotions flow

 Out of every new cut and new burn on my body

I let them flow from me in the colour red

The only colour I have left

I feel trapped

And there is nothing I can do

But count down the days

The few short days until I'm through