Needed Again: Martin Luther King, Jr. for Our Times

The way was shown by women
Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks
In the year 1955 and things changed.

You arrived on the bitter racial scene
With a dream within the American Dream.

Content of character, not colour, should be
The sole criterion for judgment for a nation
You asserted and became an overnight sensation!

Thinking of the poor and others on the social margins
Always talking of their rights and aspirations
A real leader of the masses and international
Public figure advocating of real equity, justice and freedom.

On April 4, 1968, a radical, a challenger to status quo
Was assassinated in the evening at Memphis.
They killed a body
Not the voice or spirit.
A black eventually came to live in the White House
Thanks to visionary guys like you and others.

However, sadly, the battle is not over.
A young black teen/youth in a hoody is still
Taken to be a threat on a deserted evening
And night-time worsens the situation.
They are shot dead by the police department
And riots follow each senseless killing.
Although you endure and live on
In your work and words,
Each succeeding age demands
Angels like the non-violent Gandhi or
Martin Luther King, Jr. for awaking a dormant nation.

Sunil Sharma is Toronto-based senior academic, critic, literary editor and author with 23 published books: Seven collections of poetry; four of short fiction; one novel; a critical study of the novel, and, nine joint anthologies on prose, poetry and criticism, and, one joint poetry collection. He is a recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award---2012. His poems were published in the prestigious UN project: Happiness: The Delight-Tree: An Anthology of Contemporary International Poetry, in the year 2015. Sunil edits the English section of the monthly bilingual journal Setu published from Pittsburgh, USA. For more details, please visit here Read other articles by Sunil, or visit Sunil's website.