MLK Day Poem

1076

By: Flose Boursiquot, author of Close Your Eyes, Now Breathe
Special to the Boca and Delray newspapers
We heard this poem read at a Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast and we asked if we could share it with our readers:
Dear Dr. King, your legacy is the source of our revival
The other night i watched our first black president address his nation for the last time
like you, he spoke to millions of faces — white and black faces that just seemed to blend together
through the glowing screen i watched your dream personified
his optimism echoed your message, Dr. King, but in the wake of November 8th i found myself angry, scared, defeated
and in that moment Barack was not enough
in that moment your dream was not enough
and so i began to sing
my country tis of thee,
sweet land of liberty,
of thee i sing;
land where my fathers died;
land of the pilgrim’s pride;
from every mountain side
let freedom ring!
i am reminded that— we are not free until all Americans can walk in equality
though unshackled and legs moving
we are anchored to a rock
a rock of injustice, racism, fear, intolerance
a rock colored red white and blue
when guns melt black bodies to tarred streets
I say let freedom ring! —-red white and blue
when the soil drains justice, peace, love and decency from the very fabric that stitches the American people together as one
I say let freedom ring! —-red white and blue
when the rock solidifies hatred from every nook and cranny of our government
I say let freedom ring! —-red white and blue
red white and blue
i want to let freedom ring but i often see only, you — red white and blue
but freedom we often forget
freedom we often forget until about this time of year when we honor your words, Dr. King
this is the time of year when your presence illuminates every news channel, choirs sing aloud, parents pull theirs kids up on eager laps and tell your story
we tell a story of a heroic man who towered over injustice
a man who proclaimed words from a wellspring of love and wisdom
a man who knew his legacy would inspire 365 days a year
but lately, in the face of overt hatred and bigotry we have reverted to a hopelessness
some might say it happened after your dream was realized through Obama
others might say it was never realized because you still had much to do
whatever it may be we’ve come to a place where the weight of struggle has become a heavy burden again
but even as i write this i remember your very words
“we must continue to struggle through legalism and legislation”
it was not an easy road that brought us here, and it is not an easy road that will take us to freedom
but freedom does not ring without fight
not a fight that calls for retaliation or burning what is left of red white and blue
but one that calls for unity and courage
today and everyday, Dr. King, you remind us that the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice
everyday we need to act justly and move toward the light
our journey has to start small, right here in our backyards
i am reminded that before your assassination you moved to yet another grassroots effort — Dr. King, you found your way to Memphis and worked with sanitation workers
so, even in the face of major national losses, we have got to fight for justice within our neighborhoods —  here — in Delray
we have to choose between right and wrong right here in our community
that’s how the fight for justice prevails
Dr. King, you taught us that oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. the urge for freedom will eventually come.
we, the American people will not idle in a castle awaiting another civil rights knight to save us. we will have to take action. we will have to turn our anger, sadness, and defeat into freedom for every single American so that your legacy can truly live on each and every day