Let us take our first steps
Aged, infirm
Entering into the real world
One of fear, bigotry, hate

For too long
We refrained from venturing forth
Ensconced within our redoubt
Safe, warm, secure
Yet in reality a prisoner
Of the walls, doors, locks
Beliefs, preconceptions, biases
We thought protected us
But which actually bound us

And we slowly came to realize
Such life was artificial
That to merely ignore injustice
Does not right it
For others, or for us

Forming understanding
That to be a part of humanity
Enable, sustain, preserve that spark
We must engage with it
Be imbued by it
Contribute to it

Thus, our jail became a chrysalis
And now transformed
Compelled to action
Let us emerge
And take our first steps
Invigorated, inspired
Entering into the real world

Infused with a passion
To play our part:
To right wrongs
Alleviate pain
Give to those in need
Secure justice
Meet hate with love

And thus become active
With our fellows
In forming a new world
Where we all may be young

Mike Turner is a retired member of the U.S. Government’s Senior Executive Service. He served a 27-year career as a law enforcement professional in the Departments of Defense, Treasury, Homeland Security and Commerce. In retirement, Turner has had a second career as an award-winning songwriter and poet. His poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Dissident Voice. He can be contacted at www.MikeTurnerSongwriter.com. Read other articles by Mike.