The Ruins Proclaim the Building Was Beautiful—Arab saying
The ashes of your life
Span the decades like the wake
Of passing birds or clouds,
Visible only to he who can hold
In abeyance the lust for reality.
I walk as you walked, on ground
Trodden by truncheons, by branches,
By the rise and fall of hopes and dreams
Swept clean by time, by men and women,
By a society made sick with cleanliness.
You waged a war of peace; your bombs
Were marches, sit-ins, speeches:
Where others won by shooting, your victory
Came from being shot, a wound
That rent asunder an edifice of hate.
You pulled and tugged with all your might
To bend the arc of history, to reshape
The world in the image of love and justice;
Yet to me you bequeathed both your joy
And your sorrow at an imperfect world.
Will I live and die as you did?
Will the silent suffering of the masses
Become a thunderclap in the loudspeaker
Of my heart? What am I to make
Of your victory tinged with tragedy?
Invisible injustice is blind to redemption;
A prison of sadness cages your spirit.
Oh, Dr. King, I promise to remain shackled
To hope until both the jailer and the jailed
Walk free into the sunlight as brothers and sisters!
Tuesday, July 19th, 2012