Living The Dream  

“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.

The USA gives thanks—hurray
For Martin Luther King—
A good and gracious grand display
For one who rose above the fray.
His message still rings out today
In words that soar and sing…

Yet now, somehow, we’ve lost our way.
Those born in sinful white
Must bend their knee and pledge to pay
The price for kin who went astray,
And bow to bigots when they say
That color is a blight.

Today I’ll stand. I will not kneel.
Division cannot win.
I know what’s right. I know what’s real.
Our deeds (both good and bad) reveal
Just who we are—King’s true ideal:
Judge character, not skin.



Susan Jarvis Bryant is from 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).

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13 Responses

  1. Brian Yapko

    Susan, glad and grateful to read this poem today. This is a very fine poem with an interesting structure (is this a form you have created or is it a fixed form I’m not familiar with?) Your message is powerful and about as perfectly stated as I can imagine. Like you, I do not bend nor do I accept responsibility for sins I have never committed. I have quite enough to account for without having to take on corporate responsibility for people who lived 200 years ago. Or now and around the corner for that matter. Along those lines, I often wonder why woke liberals never remember the almost 365,000 Union soldiers who died and the 280,000 who were wounded to defeat slavery. They don’t want to remember or acknowledge anything that interferes with the toxic narrative they’ve created. The reverse racism that is being foisted on our society cannot possibly end well. King got it right. You too. Judge character, not skin.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Brian, thank you so much for your eye-opening comment. You make a very important point that is always overlooked – those “365,000 Union soldiers who died and the 280,000 who were wounded to defeat slavery” is a shocking indictment against judging on skin color and not character… and, why on earth should anyone pay for the sins of their ancestors? This is the stuff of North Korea. Today’s society is blinded by the lies woven through a duplicitous narrative designed to manipulate to dire ends. The sooner we see the division for what it is and unite against those who are pushing the destruction of the Western world, the better. Promoting racism to eradicate racism is wrong… horribly wrong. Dr. King would certainly not approve.

      As for the form (I know this sounds silly), I asked Mike to suggest a form for a poem on MLK Jr. He gave me a beat and I wrote to his chosen beat. I embrace random. 🙂

      • Adam Wasem

        Never underestimate serendipity. There is nothing random in life, especially when two writers are simpatico, and know how to egg each other on. Only rarely do I write in any particular form. I always just start with the gift of that first line, and then trust that a form will eventually be revealed as I write. I justify it with the words of an obscure playwright, who said, “There are more poetic forms in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      I appreciate you dropping by, Allegra, and thank you very much for your comment.

  2. Cynthia Erlandson

    Hurray, for your succinctly-stated, and greatly needed, truth here, Susan!

  3. C.B. Anderson

    Yes, Susan, it was precise and concise. Of course, the last thing leftists want is to be judged by the content of their character. But I do not think Brian’s idea about reverse racism is a good point, because the term is meaningless. There is simply racism, howsoever or by whomever practiced. Dr. King was one of those rare Nobel Laureates who actually deserved the prize he was awarded.

    • Brian Yapko

      C.B., you’re actually quite right. I spoke carelessly. Racism is racism no matter who is practicing it and no matter who is on the receiving end.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      C.B., Dr. King’s message has never been more to the fore – to my mind, at least. The one thing that galls me is the celebratory nod in his direction by those who are pushing blatant racism, the very thing he stood against. I agree with you on the Nobel Laureate front. Sadly, these days I look at any heralded title with suspicion.

  4. Tamara Beryl Latham

    Precisely, Margaret.

    Your poem truly captures what is in the hearts and minds of most people in this country.

    We cannot cancel out history, but in cases where it involves horrific events, we must not allow it to be repeated. History is a teaching experience and we have to learn from it, not erase it.

    No one should be forced to feel ashamed for the color of his or her skin and that means everyone, black or white.

    God made people all colors for a reason and we do not know if this is a test by the Almighty on how we have handled diversity in our lives.

    Jesus preached forgiveness, but I find there are few in this world who are able to forgive. Without exhibiting forgiveness how will we be able to enter His kingdom?

    Remember, Matthew 6:15: “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”


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