Two lifetimes I have seen since yours began
and still I am not free, though haunted by
your words, blood-coated with your passion,
seeped into a history of marching feet.
The cadence of the years still cannot stand
their purity, and you, baton still high,
drum major for a righteousness you saw
that lived in dreams--
still march...and I cannot.
It's best you died, perhaps, for you
would not abide another line of voters
kept out in the rain,
their voices slain by fraud and perfidy,
their backs still open to the lash of scorn,
and scarce remembering the wounds
that you received when all you asked for
was to love.
That loving didn't get much easier
around this shrinking ball, disfigured from
a restless floor beneath the sea, and for
a while the human heart was stirred,
but more had died from restless greed
and naked power when love was set aside.
There's not much zeal for marching now
along the streets of Washington,
and bigotry is steeped inside.
We need to hear your dream again,
to have you sing with us once more,
to promise us that we shall overcome