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Maya Angelou's Abundant Hope

New poem written to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King on the opening of the Memorial that honors his legacy.

The Martin Luther King Memorial was scheduled  to be dedicated on August 28, exactly 48 years after Dr.King's historic March on Washington. The event on the National Mall has been postponed because of Hurricane Irene, but many of the of the celebrations are going on as planned, including today's Women Who Dare to Dream luncheon, which honored the women of the Civil Rights movement whose legacy of strength and dignity continues to inspire hope. Dr Maya Angelou shared this poem she had written for Sunday's dedication at the luncheon, where guests also paid special tribute to Coretta Scott King.

Reverend Martin Luther King

The great soul
Flew from the Creator
Bearing manna of hope
For his country
Starving severely from an absence of compassion.

Martin Luther King

The Great Spirit,
Came from the Creator
Proffering a sparkling fountain of fair play
To his country
Parched and deformed by hate.

The whole man came forth
With a brain of gentle wisdom
To persuade quiet
Upon the loud misery of the mob.

A whole man stood out
With a mellifluous voice
To bind the joints of cruelty.

A whole man came
In the midst of a murderous nightmare
Surrounded by demons of war
He dared to dream peace and serenity

With a heart of faith
He hoped
To resurrect his nation.

I open my mouth to the Lord,
And I won’t turn back.

Martin Luther King

Faced the racial
Mountain of segregation and
And bade it move.

The giant mound of human ignorance
Centuries old
And rigid in its determination
Did move, however slightly, however infinitesimally,
It did move.

I will go, I shall go
I’ll see what the end will be.

Martin Luther King

Brought winds of healing
To his country
Reeling unsteady
With the illness
Of racial prejudice,
Screams of vulgarity
Could not silence him.

Fire bombs and dogs
Could not take his voice away

Ona my knees,
I told God how you treated me
Ona my knees.

He knew himself
A child of God
On a mission from God, and
Standing in the hand of God.
He spoke to the hideous hearts
And to the bitter monstrosities
And asked them to transform
Their ways and thereby
Liberate his country.

Representing the grace of heaven
He spoke to the evils of Hell
Representing gentleness
He sang to brutes.

He brought the great songs of faith
Persuading men and women
To think beyond
Their baser nature.

Lord, don’t move your mountain,
Just give me strength to climb it.

He hummed the old gospels
Encouraging the folk to act
Beyond their puny selves.

You don’t have to move
That stumbling block,
Lord, just lead me around it.

Leader to those who would be led
And hero to millions. 

Martin Luther King

Was father to
Martin, III,
Dexter, and,

He was lover
Friend, and
Coretta Scott King.

He spoke respectfully
Of the Torah.
He spoke respectfully
Of the Koran.

In India, walked in the footprints
Of Mohandas Mahatma Gandhi.

Christianity made him patient
With all religions
And his tremendous heart
Made him believe
That all people
Were his people

All creeds and cultures
Were comfortable in
His giant embrace
And all just causes
Were his to support and extol
Through sermons and allocutions
With praise songs and orations

He preached fair play and serenity
From hand cuffs and prison garb
From leg irons and prison bars

He taught triumph over loss
And love over despair
Hallelujah over the dirges and
Joy over moaning.

Fear not, we’ve come too far to turn back
We are not afraid, and

We shall overcome
We shall overcome
Deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome

 © 2011 by Maya Angelou