FIRMLY PLANTED ◽ ENCOURAGEMENT

Unrest is here, reminiscent of the ‘60’s when protests about Vietnam and civil rights rocked the world. Change happened as a result, but it wasn’t enough; and it will never be enough until it is Complete. We don’t know when that will be. In the meantime—the present NOW—I’m looking up, the only solid direction, and listening for the voice that centers me when things are swirling around.

Just last night I came upon a poem called The Child, written by Ingrid Jonker, a South African poet and human rights advocate. It was read by Nelson Mandela at his inauguration speech. To me, it expresses far more than the words actually say...the beauty of poetry. It inspired me to write The Man.

I offer it with prayers that it speaks a word from above to you.

                                The Man

The man isn’t dead.

He cries out  through voices heard in the land;

He cries out to God, the one who defends.

The man isn’t dead, through tears and wounds and pain;

He’s alive in the breath of those living in shame.

The man isn’t dead.

In Staten Island and Fergusen, Dallas and St. Paul,

In Chicago and Cleveland—his blood runs in the streets.

Young men, old men, woman and child,

Bend over in insult and anger and fear.

 

The man isn’t dead beneath the knee bent in triumph--

It will collapse; it will break, all the way to the ground.

The knee bent in sorrow is strangely profound;

The knee bent in humility takes the prize…

It will rise.

 

The man isn’t dead.

Minneapolis and Baton Rouge, Louisville and Atlanta,

His legacy pulses with blood and breath still alive--

A surgery of steady purpose,

To crack hearts and open eyes.

 

The man isn’t dead.

He sings in chorus with others,

Hoarse with weariness and waiting

For my blood and breath

To come alive, come alive.

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The Man
by Dina Cavazos

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