Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fifty Years After

I don’t usually post poems on this blog, except for poems serving as prompts for the monthly challenge. I’ve decided to make an exception today, on the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington. I surely would have been in D.C. to participate, except for the fact that it was three days before my wedding (yes, that means my husband and I will celebrate our 50th anniversary this week, on August 31).

Last Saturday I was in Chicago for a meeting of Poets & Patrons of Chicago. Maybe it was because I’d been hearing radio and TV accounts of preparation for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Maybe it was because I was again thinking about the fact that I regretted that I couldn’t go to Washington for the March and be ready for my wedding three days later. At any rate I noticed something that warmed my heart. I suspect I may have seen the same “picture” on other occasions when I walked through Union Station, and didn’t even notice. But this time, I was touched, and wrote this poem on the train on my way back to the suburbs.

Fifty Years After

Fifty years after
the March on Washington,
fifty years after
Martin Luther King
stood in front
of the Lincoln Memorial,
painting a dream
of equality

on this late August day,
Dr. King walks with me
in Union Station, Chicago.
I say, Stop! Turn around,
Dr. King. See the picture
behind you—
The shoeshine stand.
Dr. King glances back.
He turns, smiling.

I dreamed of this, too,
he whispers.
The day when sometimes
a white man would polish
a black man’s shoes
and neither
would be called “boy.”

~ Wilda Morris

© August 2013