Poems for Lent: I Have A Dream

An Erasure Poem of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech

Today in history,
The greatest demonstration of our nation.
A great American, whose symbolic shadow,
Came great hope to millions.

Free,
Still sadly crippled by discrimination.
A lonely island.
A vast ocean,
Still languished in society.
An exile in his own.
Today.

In a sense,
Our nation’s architects
Wrote magnificent words.
A promissory note,
A promise guaranteed,
“Rights of Happiness.”
Obvious America defaulted.

Citizens are concerned.
Honor this obligation,
America has given a bad check.
Insufficient.
Refuse to believe
Justice is bankrupt.
Believe me.
Demand riches
Freedom
Security
Justice.

Hallowed America!
Now.
Time to make a promise.
Rise from the dark,
the sunlit path of justice.
Lift our nation from injustice.
Justice for all.

Fatal to overlook the moment,
This discontent.
Until freedom and equality.

No end,
A rude awakening
Business as usual.
No tranquility until right,
Until justice emerges.

My people,
Justice.
Gain our place, we must
Satisfy our thirst of hatred.
Forever dignity and discipline.
Rise with soul force.

Marvelous community,
Of all people.
For man realize destiny is our bond,
Our freedom.

Cannot walk alone.
Pledge always ahead.
Cannot turn back.
Ask, “You satisfied?”
Unspeakable horror.
Never be satisfied
Bodies, heavy.
We cannot be satisfied.
Never be satisfied.
As children are stripped,
Robbed of their dignity.

We cannot be satisfied.
We will not be satisfied.
Justice and righteousness.
Mindful trails and tribulations.
Fresh, your quest.
Battered storms of persecution.
Staggered winds of brutality.
Creative suffering.

Work with faith.
Suffering is redemptive.
Go back?
This situation will be changed,
In the valley of despair.
Today and tomorrow,
I still have a dream…
…the American dream.

A dream,
The true meaning,
That all are created equal
Together at the table of brotherhood.

A dream,
Sweltering injustice,
Sweltering oppression.
Transformed freedom and justice.

A dream,
A nation,
Judged by their character.

I dream today!

A dream,
Right here
Join hands as sisters and brothers.

I dream today!

A dream,
Every valley
Hill
Mountain
Rough places
Crooked places
Shall be together.

With faith,
Hew out a stone of hope.
With faith,
Transform our nation of brotherhood.
With faith,
Work
Pray
Struggle together
Stand up together.

We will be free this day,
The day when all children sing with meaning:
“My country I sing
…Pride. Every mountainside.
Freedom ring.”

America, a great nation, true.
…Freedom from the hilltops
…From the mountains
…From the heightening Alleghenies
…From the snow-capped Rockies
…From the curvaceous slopes

Not only that:
…From Stone Mountain
…From Lookout Mountain
…From every hill and molehill
…from Every mountainside.

Freedom.

And when we let it ring,
ALL children,
join hands and sing:
“At last! Free at last!”

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Poems for Lent: What If?

What If?

By Shel Silverstein

Last night, while I lay thinking here,
Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
And pranced and partied all night long
And sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I’m dumb in school?
Whatif they’ve closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there’s poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don’t grow taller?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won’t bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don’t grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems swell, and then
The nighttime Whatifs strike again!