A King’s Speech

Reflecting on Martin’s dream fifty years later

A half a century ago
the White House residents
observed a black man mount a make-shift stage.
And a quarter of a million
braved that August afternoon
to find themselves typeset on history’s page.

As Lincoln’s marble eyes looked on,
that preacher voiced a dream
that cast a vision few (at first) could see.
His focus was on equal rights,
on color blindness, too.
He called for inter-racial unity.

This prophet quoted Scripture
with emotional resolve
as he exorcized the demons of his day.
A King, clothed like a cleric,
without scepter, crown or throne,
gave a speech that blew the masses clean away.

And now fifty long years later
that short speech can still be heard
in the consciousness of we who share his dream.
It’s a dream that’s still in process
as we pray “Thy Kingdom come”
and resist the racists’ manifested schemes.

* On August 28, 1963 (three months before President Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas) The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech to a crowd of some 250,000 people on the steps on the Lincoln Memorial.