For the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Portrait of MLK Jr, by Betsy Reyneau, care of Wikimedia Commons.

I’ve been bad. I know I have. You see that “Quote of the Week” section on the blog and you think, “Hey, that Chris guy, he gives us great quotes each week…” But I’ve not been keeping up. The poems have been flowing, but each week when the time comes around to drop the weekly quotes, they seem to slip right out of my remembering. Bad Chris.

Well this week I’m getting back into the habit, and what better day to do that with than Martin Luther King Day?

MLK is a tragic and inspirational tale for us all – a man that pushed society to the brink, moved a nation with his words, and gave hope where before there had been little. He was but one face and voice in a movement crowded with them, but his is the one we most often hear echoing through the halls of time – reminding, humbling. A clergyman, activist, and leader in the stylings of Mahatma Gandhi, King was a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. Born on January 15, 1929, he energized the civil rights movement both before and after his assassination on April 4, 1968, at just 39-years-old. He was a Christian man, and a colorblind one; he opposed war, and fought to end poverty.

The man, the inspiration, the paragon of peace and advancement that was Martin Luther King Jr. was a master orator, and writer, and so today, I would like to share with you a few of his words. At the bottom you will also find a video of his legendary speech: “I have a Dream,” as well as the news broadcast from CBS’s Walter Cronkite that aired on the night of his murder. I can only imagine what it must have been like to be sitting there that night and suddenly be greeted with such a thing…even if King himself had predicted it. Even if he’d known.

So please, as this day passes you by, take some time to reflect on what this man once said, and on the messages he preached, which still ring as true today as they ever did, and ever shall, so long as man draws breath upon this earth.

“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars…Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

Haiku

 

Photography: courtesy of Creative Commons and Leslie Moon

Clouds veil summer light

The sound of rain distant rise

Shadowed flames leaking.

*For One Stop Poetry’s first ever One Stop Poetry Form…today’s subject: Haiku.

Desolation Life

This cavalry ride,

This noble stride,

Stretch wide upon the earth—

Trembling thunder underfoot

Amidst the shadows lightening fall.

Death rides before the tip,

Death roars beneath the arrow scorn

And in the quailing devastation

Moves the seeds of their creation.

Bodies bloom like spattered roses

But from the agony of annihilation

Stirs the flowers–flourish,

Such color rises from silent gray

The mass is fallen

The light arise

Entangled limbs stretch toward the warm embrace

Soothed into the slumber

Of revival.

Ask not the ends

Ask the means—

What comes, shall come again

In one form or the next.

My latest contribution to the wonderful One Shot Poetry Wednesdays! Once you’ve had a look, check out some of the other One Shot Poets as well– they’re a skilled bunch of poets, looking to form a community and support one another.  Enjoy!

From Russia with Love

The salvation of mankind lies only in making everything the concern of all.
~Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Even so, one step from my grave, I believe that cruelty, spite, The powers of darkness will in time, Be crushed by the spirit of light.
~Boris Pasternak

Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. Everything is united by it alone. Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source.
~Leo Tolstoy

For, after all, you do grow up, you do outgrow your ideals, which turn to dust and ashes, which are shattered into fragments; and if you have no other life, you just have to build one up out of these fragments. And all the time your soul is craving and longing for something else. And in vain does the dreamer rummage about in his old dreams, raking them over as though they were a heap of cinders, looking in these cinders for some spark, however tiny, to fan it into a flame so as to warm his chilled blood by it and revive in it all that he held so dear before, all that touched his heart, that made his blood course through his veins, that drew tears from his eyes, and that so splendidly deceived him!
~ Fyodor Dostoevsky, White Nights

The Stage

Failure lurks like sin

Waiting in the darkness

Beyond the broiling light—

Can’t think, the heat

It’s too strong

Where have they gone

All these bodies,

Sunken shadows

Mere eyes that gaze beyond

The boundaries of my knowing

Just breathe

It will be alright

But the shadows cling

Even in this sunlit inquisition.

Alone

I stand,

Cannot stay behind

The crowd awaits

Sink or swim

They may yet know my name.

My latest contribution to the wonderful One Shot Poetry Wednesdays! Once you’ve had a look, check out some of the other One Shot Poets as well– they’re a skilled bunch of poets, looking to form a community and support one another.  Enjoy!

Waiting

I’m waiting on a light

That may never arrive;

I’m grabbing at the stars

And catching only dust.

Every moment builds into

Another moment lost

And still I wait,

Humming in the night,

As though the world will shine on me

In my ceaseless indolence.

Dreams unravel

It is reality waiting

Not this fiction I have woven

Into this false world.