Written by Francesca Beard for Global Dignity Day 2013

It’s not something I put on,

A medal pinned to my chest,

Reflecting in the shine of stranger’s eyes.


It’s not something I give out,

An iced cake, sliced with a silver knife.


It’s not something I buy,

With the click of a cursor, a plastic swipe.

I could sell it, but I’d get in return, only sorrow.


We were born with it, our common birthright,

Down to earth as gravity, basic as sunlight,

Got til it’s gone,

Intangible till you miss it.


I’ve never woken up, yawned, thought

“My lungs don’t hurt at all this morning’,

Never jogged down the road, thinking

‘Awesome, my feet work.’


But take my air,

I will burn inside.

Break my bones,

I’ll suffer to heal.

Take my dignity,

I will struggle to be me.