Photo of Martin Luther King, Jr. at the National Mall.‘For Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 2021’ by Susan Jarvis Bryant The Society January 18, 2021 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 30 Comments “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” —Martin Luther King, Jr. “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…” —Martin Luther King, Jr. In these deceitful days of hate, Where minds are waking up too late, No twisted tongue will ever sing The song of Martin Luther King. His music dwindled, almost died, The day despotic demons lied That characters are judged and weighed Not on their content, but their shade. All traits and fates, they say, begin With skin each person’s born within. All heartfelt thoughts are cast aside; The spirit of each soul’s denied. Now those, once blind to black and white, Are fueled by malice, fired by spite. Divisive ideology Has killed King’s dream of harmony… Or has it? Has it gone for good? Perhaps we could—perhaps we should Stand together, stand as one In brotherhood beneath our sun, And heed the words of this great man— Accept what’s fixed, change what we can. Let’s celebrate the human race With love and joy and care and grace… Let We the People join and sing The song of Martin Luther King! . With thanks to my husband Mike for his inspiration and encouragement. . . Susan Jarvis Bryant is a church secretary and poet whose homeland is Kent, England. She is now an American citizen living on the coastal plains of Texas. Susan has poetry published in the UK webzine, Lighten Up On Line, The Daily Mail, and Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets). NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. 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CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 30 Responses Jeff Eardley January 18, 2021 Susan, a most moving poem for these troubled times and thank you for the heads up to read a little more of Mr. King. I didn’t realise that there was a massive people’s March on Washington in 1968 with the White House guarded by 20,000 troops. I guess history will often repeat itself. I love the optimism of verse 3 and let’s all hope for a more peaceful time to come. Thank you, again, for another gem. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant January 18, 2021 Jeff, thank you very much for your comment. I don’t know too much about MLK Jr., and I’m sure those living here in America who witnessed these times will have a far better understanding of this period in history. What I do know is, when it comes to observations on the color of skin, his words make complete sense to me. Reply C.B. Anderson January 18, 2021 Oh, Susan. Your poem makes me think of all the persons in Congress and in other institutions who desperately hope that we will NOT judge them by the content of their character. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant January 18, 2021 C.B., I couldn’t agree more. In these hypocritical days of identity politics, President-Select, Joe Biden, as a rich, white, toxic male sex predator is surely not a good advert for the cause. Reply A.B. Brown January 18, 2021 Thanks for this, Susan. A sad thing that the people who claim to be MLK’s heirs are really traitorous usurpers. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant January 18, 2021 Mr. Brown, you are absolutely right. How on earth can those who claim to love MLK Jr., those who have taken a day off in his honor, support Critical Race Theory? The mind boggles. Reply BRIAN YAPKO January 18, 2021 A wonderful poem, Susan, which successfully tackles some really difficult concepts. You leave me pondering the legacy of “divisive ideology” and what harm is yet to come in the name of what is called “social justice” but which strikes me as a new and insidious form of racism in which blindness to color is disparaged. I think you’re right. MLK would have preferred that we look into each other’s souls rather than obsess on skin shade. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant January 18, 2021 Brian, thank you very much for your astute comment and for highlighting with clarity exactly what I was trying to get across in my poem. I am certain Mr. King would be shocked at how far back our current politics have set his vision for humankind. Reply David Paul Behrens January 18, 2021 An outstanding poem, there is no comment I could make which could add to its greatness! Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant January 18, 2021 David, I am thrilled to receive your comment. This poem may look simple, but it was one of the hardest ones I have written, and I thoroughly appreciate your encouraging words. Reply Jason Dain January 18, 2021 I always look forward to Susan’s contributions. I struggle with occasional lines because they are worth the reward of finding how to phrase them. Lines 14-16 continue the beautiful rhythm: but one is struggle, the next WONDERFUL 8 syllables in 2 words, and the three lines together comprise the seed for the whole poem. I am sorry I haven’t expressed this very well. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant January 18, 2021 Jason, it’s always good to hear from you. Thank you for your wonderful and informative comment. This poem was written and posted to the society yesterday. I think this poet benefits from separating herself from her newly written pieces for a couple of days to return with a fresh eye and tidy up any problems… I will be doing this soon. With much gratitude, as ever. Reply Joe Tessitore January 18, 2021 I agree with Mr. Behrens – this is an outstanding poem! Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant January 18, 2021 Joe, thank you, thank you, thank you! 🙂 Reply Jeff Kemper January 18, 2021 Very well done. I just posted on FB about some of these same dour realities expressed in the first two stanzas and thought of rewriting my thoughts as a poem but you already did it. I’m inspired by your optimism. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant January 18, 2021 Jeff, thank you for dropping by and commenting. I have gone through pains to produce this poem, and, at first it ended with no hope in sight… but, then, as my husband quite rightly pointed out, we don’t have to believe and repeat everything the state tells us about identity. Perhaps my words may encourage others to join me in discarding the insidious idiocy we’re expected to swallow these days… you never know, more people may start working out that it’s not their neighbor who is the enemy. Reply Mike Bryant January 18, 2021 “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.” — Martin Luther King, Jr. Reply C.B. Anderson January 18, 2021 Always the optimist, eh, Mike? That’s why I am a pessimist — I am never disappointed. Buckle up. It’s not over yet. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant January 18, 2021 C.B., If an optimist laughs to forget and a pessimist forgets to laugh, I’m opting for a darn good snigger as the world is collapsing around me. 🙂 Mike Bryant January 18, 2021 CB, I hope this doesn’t ruin your evening… if it’s a thing in Britain, it’s only a matter of time before it’s here in our back yard… maybe that’s being too pessimistic. https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2021/01/18/will-this-crap-ever-end-gardening-is-racist-claims-national-trust-backed-professor/ C.B. Anderson January 24, 2021 Response to Mike Bryant’s note (+ link) below: We seem to have reached a point where insanity is so widespread that it can no longer be called insanity. Derangement is now perfectly normal C.B. Anderson January 18, 2021 That, Susan, was a nice chiasmus I had never heard before. You are unsinkable, while I merely tread water. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant January 18, 2021 C.B., it’s very naughty to tell porkies. You, merely treading water… never! Reply Jerilyn Nash January 18, 2021 I Love your poetry and your sentiments. Thank you again for a wonderfully encouraging view in these troubled times. Reply Jerilyn Nash January 18, 2021 Susan, may I post this poem on another social site (Nextdoor), giving full credit, of course? There is a thread dedicated to Dr. King’s birthday and I’d Love to include it if you don’t mind. If there is some reason you don’t want me to, however, I will certainly abide by your wishes! Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant January 18, 2021 … and yes, you can certainly post my poem on the site you’ve mentioned… thank you for asking. Susan Jarvis Bryant January 18, 2021 Thank you very much, Jerilyn – I’m glad my poem may lift spirits… we certainly need a bit of spirit-lifting energy in these mournful and melancholic times. Reply Norma Okun January 20, 2021 Martin Luther King was killed but justice was not. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant January 20, 2021 Norma, thank you for your observation. Justice will never die, you’re right. But, it all depends from which perspective you’re looking. The government is not my ideal, I don’t expect them to be just… I’m looking to a much higher realm for justice. That’s why I’m smiling on this Inauguration Day. Reply Norma Okun January 20, 2021 Yes Susan, it is that lilac that Whitman wrote about blooming in the dooryard “When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d” It is what made my heart glad as the body of Lincoln was in a hearse. As many who have been gun down without a gun. I still think the lilacs do them justice. Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Δ This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.