Posts Tagged ‘march’

The Freedom March

 

Today, reply is on recognizing poetry and prose, and a third poem is shared as Black History Month begins to conclude.  A writer in the “Yahoo! Answers” Arts & Humanities:  Poetry forum who uses the ID “ugly duckling101” (Level 3 with 1,221 points, a member since August 25, 2014) posted the following:

Is this poem or prose? comment if you wish?

The little lunch box

She packed all of her favorite
puzzle pieces neatly inside
the numbered, shapes
and lettered ones.
Closing the lid with Yoda on top
she grabs the white handle
and places the little black box
into the now repurposed 10 gallon
blue diamond toy crock
stained with wine on the inside
and pulls out her etch-a-sketch
and gives it a shake
wiping it clean.

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things:  and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.  (Matthew 12:  35-37, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Bloody Sunday — Black History (02/14/2018); Black History — Johannesburg Gold (02/05/2018); Poem:  Adam’s Time of Sleep (01/016/2017); 1st “Poem-fall” 2017: THE SNOWFLAKE BALL (01/10/2017); Where Should We Look? (02/04/2015); Spring-training (04/11/2014); Kill the Blog Writer! (04/12/2014); A Valentine, 2014 (02/15/2014)

 

“ugly duckling101”, here are some ideas I am willing to share:

Even where no one else “gets his thought,” or they may fail to “make their  point,” creative writers always must know their own intent and purpose.  Many professional writers will agree that the identity and process of their own works only emerge by accord and covenant (i.e., silent, unspoken agreements and contracts with those who will critique, examine, and read as mature literary persons including editors, publishers, reviewers, and teachers).  To be recognized as the work of a specific writer, a poem, essay, novel, etc. must display, express and impart a familiar style coupled with the peculiar insights, purposes, favored techniques, and understandings of its creator while also being congruent with, expanding on, and mirroring elements within the fullness of a reader (e.g., desires, longings, memories, thing that are now forgotten).  In the effort to achieve the highest levels for freedom of expression, many today are abandoning the formal models and patterns once used to establish discipline and provide standards for excellence among writers of both poetry and prose.  Hip hop will be heard as sophisticated oral and performance poetry, and part of its richness is that it blends techniques from cultural celebration and oral tradition along with devices for preservation and survival of intellectual property.

There is far more to be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, my personal approach that acknowledges the need for simplicity and surprise can be seen in the following piece suitable to be shared as Black History Month 2018 begins to draw to its close.  The work is intended to be plain, yet, comprehensive and instructive in its focus:

 

WHAT SHALL WE WEAR TO FREEDOM
[A Citizen King’s Day Poem – January 15, 2007]

What shall we wear to freedom come the morning of the march?
Blue overalls or dungarees, white shirts with heavy starch?

New fiber, new resilience, just to walk a simple way
That may end in jail or bloodshed by the finish of the day?

A soft and easy armor for the farmlands where we toil?
The clothing of oppression for the Mississippi soil?

For the Alabama courthouse?  For the network TV news?
Our best suit from Sunday’s sermon, and our polished Sunday shoes?

Work boots from a Georgia chain gang?  Or the running shoes for play
And the things we may dispose of when the blood won’t wash away?

What shall we wear to freedom, all the tears we shed last night,
Now invisible and hidden as the morning starts to light?

Daubed in color, clad like rainbows, and in celebration best?
Draped in black to bury evil, putting racism to rest?

Sporting Irish green, or turquoise, russet, lavender or pink?
Naked?  Unashamed?  Non-violent, and secure in what we think?

Shall we not stand in our honor with our eyes fixed on the prize,
Answering the tattoo cadence taking not one step for lies?

Knowing death will come on quickly if we fly or sound retreat,
Let us steel our hearts with purpose, and go voting with our feet.

What shall we wear to duty, given wars are won by deeds,
The shackles of enslavement?  The innocence of needs?

A mask of feigned devotion to disguise a boiling rage?
A cloak of prowling power like a panther in a cage?

For the streets of Cicero, or Harlem, Oslo, or Hanoi?
Where the sacrifice of blood will purchase neither peace, nor joy?

Shall the promise of America, an equality of men,
Be forgotten in an instant because we don’t wear the same skin?

Those with whom we cannot reason can be bullied, can be bought,
Can no longer be inspired, followed, trusted, led or taught

True democracy is more than where you sit upon the bus
For it speaks to human dignity and touches all of us:

It’s a quality of being in our future and our past,
It’s a light shone on our children, and the things we build to last

More than all our secret longing, our opinions, our desire,
Our shared duty and shared privilege, and a flame of common fire

Fueled in spending of our taxes, and enacting all our laws,
Fanned in choosing all our leaders, and in purging out our flaws.

It’s the heartbeat of our nation, how that all may have full voice
Saying what we wear to freedom is a matter of our choice.

What shall we wear returning once the sun begins to wane,
And the shadow of the twilight swallows up the ground we gain?

Battle scars? A badge of courage?  All the horror of the day?
Having worn respect and laurels we should never cast away?

Put on smiles of hollow victory, the grimaces of sorrow,
In an agony of knowing we must trek again tomorrow?

Where imperatives of meaning and compassion fall to lust
Every covenant is broken, and we dare not yield or trust.

We must put on lasting values, and a strength that will renew
Through the righteousness and justice in the simple things we do

Where the process of believing and receiving truth through grace
And the march of faith toward Zion will continue to have place.

What we seek is that perfection where the things of light endure,
All the balance and completeness men achieve as they mature,

The fruit of silent struggle where the mind and heart once closed
Become open to discover through the values once opposed.

It comes down to understanding, and a dream we all may share
Even where we seek a freedom just to choose what we shall wear:

We must call to the Eternal, then step forward unafraid
To be damned or crowned with glory for the choices we have made.

 

What shall we wear to judgment, then, to bow before the King,
At the throne of purest worship where the holy angels sing?

Don the garments of his priesthood, or the jewels of his crown,
Our humility and reverence, casting every idol down?

For Chicago, Selma, Little Rock, Montgomery, tears afresh?
An uncircumcised religion, or the arrogance of flesh?

The water of baptism?  Lips seared from the altar’s fire?
The diadem of deeds that godly blessing will require?

Shall we rise up in that dawning wrapped in mantles of his grace
Golden sandals on our feet, and free to look upon his face?

In a coat of many colors, or a fragrance of the saints?
With a scowl of our defiance, or the curse of our complaints?

We ourselves create the record heaven holds until the time
We are called before the universe to answer every crime.

There’s no entry on our ledger introduced by demon foe,
Only wanderings and journeys where our spirit chose to go,

True salvation from the Lord is never won by sword and spear:
By each honest step in patience we elect what will appear,

What the Son of GOD will cover by his blood from Calvary
Will remain un-resurrected and no living eye shall see.

Should the books reveal our trembling, unadorned, barefoot, unshod,
They must also show this wisdom, that we humbly walked with GOD,

That we marched for heaven’s governance and liberty’s increase,
Having cast our votes for mercy and the flowing robes of peace.

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THE BLACK PHOENIX

©Michael Andrew Williams.  Washington, DC.  February 2011.  All rights reserved.)

Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

 

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THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

     Alarmed that in future years the March on Washington (1963) will only be known as a secular event, today, I felt forced to share my personal testimony as someone who is a living witness, and was then a participant.  Choosing a simple, yet challenging rhyme scheme (ABBA), I prepared a piece (below) I hoped could engage all its readers at multiple levels, and convey the full range of feeling and ideas that were ignited within me.  Every aspect of life in America was expressed and touched upon through the March.  The Movement embraced action to address the entire spectrum of private and public, secular and spiritual issues.  Included were access to schools, acknowledging and correcting abuses of legitimate authority, activism as ones religious duty, affirming our Constitution and acknowledging the Declaration of Independence, capitalism, competition, divine governance, economic development, ecumenicalism, equal opportunity, ethnic diversity, faith and public service, ending segregation, federal covenants, freedom riders, freedom fighters, labor organizing, poverty, prayer, racial equality, rights to lawful assembly, self-defense, self determination, states’ rights, the nature of leadership, the continuing cycles of revolution, threats of apostasy, heresy and spiritual confusion, the Ten Commandments and voter registration, to name a few.  Your comments are welcome.

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Hear another parable:  There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:  And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.  And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.  Again, he sent other servants more than the first:  and they did unto them likewise.  But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.  But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.  And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.  When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?  They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.  Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner:  this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?  Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.  And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken:  but on whosoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.  (Matthew 21:  33-44, King James Version)

                                                    NUMBERLESS
[A poem recalling a special experience of growth, peace, protest, and prophecy written for The 50th Anniversary of the March On Washington, D. C. that was led by Reverend, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., August 28, 1963]

Because by effort men must secure
Their name for honor, for being wise
Blood and nobility justifies
Until the force of law is mature

Trial by ordeal and duel to the death
say only righteousness can prevail
And divinity will never fail
The innocent ones to their last breath

Ten paces, turn, then fire at will
The dawn will crack and blast as blood flows
Or swords are crossed, en garde, with blade blows
Mighty to cleave, split, thrust, or to kill

Instead of the executioner
A solemn undertaker attends
No satisfaction until life ends
Not his duty bodies to inter

The witness to a violent act
Declaring manliness took the field
Or foolhardiness that would not yield
Only cowards die shot in the back

The unseen attacker, a viper
In robes of rank malice stained with shame
Forfeits his life, his own good name
To strike as a serpent, a sniper

True records must show, although he died
The affair of honor King engaged
Was not that of one simply outraged
Because of hate, racism and pride

Like those denying resurrection
Already there are those who say
No prophet from GOD appeared that day
Rejecting all divine correction

The pioneers writing history
Must bear an anointing heaven sent
To discern any sacred event
And testify with integrity

The spirit of truth like justice filled
The hearts and minds of those who obeyed
A chanting Jericho march displayed
Warriors submitted as GOD willed

And when the cry of the dream was cast
Like a gauntlet before our nation
Blind eyes were healed through revelation
And believers became free at last

I was there, I fell and rose with King
Just seventeen, daring to be brave
And refusing the chain of a slave
Evidence that death has lost its sting

Adults often miss what children see
When flesh and spirit both face the test
Declaring GOD has been manifest
The plain imprint of divinity

I could see the future we desired
The very things being talked about
Were even then being carried out
Trust in our Maker was required

Numberless the evening shadows fall
Yet, we look to the young to be bold
To repel the wolves that stalk the fold
Willing to destroy and ravage all

To turn pasture into killing ground
By the law of the claw and slaughter
The duty of each son and daughter
Watch and pray to hear the shepherd’s sound

Sheep achieve no more than sheep will dare
Despite the limits set upon youth
They are capable of knowing truth
Even when the foe is foul, unfair

We still face men who attack as mobs
Prejudice and discrimination
Ignorance with alienation
We still need housing, we still need jobs

As then our humanity must shine
Nonviolence and the law must rule
The ballot box and court room the tool
Our Avenger, He who is divine

Grace is not a gift for those who flee
Who endorse despair and will not stand
It is for those who march through the land
Whose weapon will be humility

The good fight of faith is only won
When a life of service is complete
Having never stooped to lie and cheat
We will overcome by deeds well done

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©Michael Andrew Williams, 2013.  All rights reserved.

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