Wednesday, January 15, 2014

one nation (Poem)

Today is the birthday of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968). He would have been 85 years old.

The Found Poetry Review this morning noted that Greenwell Springs Road Regional Library Branch in Louisiana's East Baton Rouge Parish was using found poetry today "as a way to help teenagers engage with MLK's 'I Have a Dream' speech." It suggested that those unable to attend events honoring and remembering Dr. King (the official holiday is Monday, January 20) might try to compose a found poem using words from a transcript of the speech, which Dr. King delivered at the "March on Washington" in 1963.  I took the challenge. Here is my found poem:

one nation

I have a dream that my four little children will
one day live in a nation where they will not 
be judged by the color of their skin but by
the content of their character.
      ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

we stand today
in the shadow
of the long night

of our captivity
we rise to proclaim
our emancipation

we come joyous
from a desolate valley
into the daybreak

of our sweet promise:
a beginning for all
God's children

black and white
still in the dark
corners of America

we had been lonely
in exile, shameful
of the great chains

of injustice we refuse
now, in this moment,
to pass on

this land we're heir to
is a beacon of light
we've come to lift

in our rightful place
for one hundred years
hope was tranquilizing

despair a mountain
of solid stone in hands
crippled by manacles

but we emerge now
not drinking from a cup
of hatred, of violence

of bitterness, not jangling
chains of distrust
but able to sing here, today

our protests in community
battered, suffering, we will
not turn back, cannot walk

alone but demand to work
together, pray together
struggle together as one

free at last! free at last!
Thank God a-mighty

we are free at last!

© 2014 Maureen E. Doallas

50th Anniversary March on Washington (August 28, 2013)

Official Program for the March on Washington

1 comment:

nance.mdr said...

it's hard to imagine him being 85 years old.