Monday, January 18, 2021

A POEM FOR MLK DAY

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

This is a pantoum I wrote many years ago and shared on my blog. I'm re-sharing it today in honor of Martin Luther King's birthday and in joy over the impending inauguration of Kamala Harris. I conceived it at a Writers' Workshop, where we were to use our personal geography as our subject. I grew up in Topeka, Kansas, the home of Brown vs. The Topeka Board of Education.

Happy MLK Day!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



I Grew Up in Linda Brown’s Town


I grew up in Linda Brown’s town
Where the Supreme Court said no more
We should have shared the ground
But on our Selves we shut a door.

Where the Supreme Court said no more
Separate was not equal
But on ourselves we shut a door
Complete with imaginary key that locked the lock forevermore.

Separate was not equal
But one mind can begin the change
Complete, with imaginary key that locked the lock forevermore
That mind began to pick open the door.

But one mind can begin the change
And cross the imaginary line
That mind began to pick open the door
And with a We Shall Overcome was joined by many more.

And cross the imaginary line
One went
And with a We Shall Overcome was joined by many more
Then the door burst open, forever, more.

One went
And then another
Then the door burst open, forevermore
To create a coat of many colors, black white brown and many more.

And then another
World began
To create a coat of many colors, black white brown and many more
That spread across the land because one mind had said No, more.

World, Began
Dream, Imagine Freedom
That spread across the land because one mind had said no more
Now all must join together to keep the door unlocked forevermore.

Dream, Imagine, Freedom
We should have shared the ground
Now all must join together to keep the door unlocked 
For, evermore, I grew up in Linda Brown’s town.

26 comments:

  1. LOVE IT! and we are STILL dealing with separate and unequal schools all these years later. we are STILL dealing with blatant racism. we are STILL dealing with hate.

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    1. I wish it were otherwise, but you're absolutely right.

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  2. If someone had told me when I arrived here in 1962 that racism would still run rampant, with white supremacists wanting a race war, in the year 2021, I don't know what I would have thought. The diversity of its people is the greatest gift America has given to me.

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    1. In spite of the strides we've made, such as Kamala Harris being elected as vice president, the white supremacists seem more powerful than ever.

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  3. Love your poem! My high school was directly affected by the Brown vs Board of Education. In the fall of 1956, I was a junior at Clinton High School. Just as an earlier comment, I would have thought we’d be further along our journey. We have to keep trying every day.

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    1. Thank you, Nellie. The door opened, but not far enough. Although I lived in Topeka, we had no African-American students in our elementary school, two in our junior high, and three in our high school.

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  4. That is a spectacular poem for this most important day of a great man.

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  5. YES.
    And thank you to all who strive to keep that door open - and to widen it too.

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    1. I want to widen the door, but I don't know how.

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  6. This country is still fighting to keep that door open...but that just proves how much it means to us to keep fighting and how stubborn we are. ;) Never give up. :) It's lovely, Janie.

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  7. It's devastating to think that this poem still needs to be spoken. Well done. If we survive another 40 years, I wonder if it will be the same.

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    1. The mob at the Capitol was filled with white supremacists, and plenty more are around who didn't show up in D.C. It makes me doubt how much can be accomplished.

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  8. What a great poem! The words still hold true today. While I think to think we made improvement, we've got a long way to go as a human race. Thank you for sharing this. :)

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    1. While I like to think* (I saw the typo right as I hit publish!)

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    2. I hate it when I see a typo at the last second or any other time.

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  9. This was or is awesome, I really like this

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  10. Great piece! That must have bee an interesting workshop too

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  11. Brilliant. Keep that door unlocked forevermore indeed. Your poem said it all. Freedom . . . Why can others not see that it belongs to everyone? Well done, Janie.

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