Friday, January 14, 2011

Poetry Friday: For Dr. King

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.--what would the world look like if he were still with us? Things would certainly be different, right? How different? How much better? I have to believe that he would have continued to change the world in the decades after 1968. Who knows what our world would look like.

I suppose, though, that wondering what could have been isn't the best way to honor the memory of Dr. King. Making sure we do things to preserve his legacy and spreading his message of peace and justice are better courses of action. I hope I'm doing that, I really do.

There are certainly days, however, where I am not so sure even he would be able to help us. I shake my head and wonder exactly what happened to make our world this way.

My whole point here is to share a poem with you that I think echoes the spirit of unity and peace that Dr. King pushed Americans to achieve. It's a gorgeous and moving peace, and I won't talk too much about it because it certainly speaks for itself.

By Naomi Shihab Nye
A man crosses the street in rain,
stepping gently, looking two times north and south,
because his son is asleep on his shoulder.
No car must splash him.
No car drive too near to his shadow.
This man carries the world’s most sensitive cargo
but he’s not marked.
Nowhere does his jacket say FRAGILE,
His ear fills up with breathing.
He hears the hum of a boy’s dream
deep inside him.

The poem turns toward a beautiful ending at this point. Please read the rest here via Google Books. And please check out the Poetry Friday round-up, hosted this week at Laura Salas: Writing the World for Kids.


  1. Thank you for this poem. I love Naomi Shihab Nye's perfect peaceful words. If you do not know, "Kindness," I think you will love it...

  2. What a lovely, lovely poem. I think that's a very ideal memorium for Dr. King. I may save the link and re-post it myself.

  3. So true. So true.

    Good reminder that King will only really be gone when we forget to live like he did.

  4. Thank you for sharing such a thought provoking, lovely poem. I will read this with my students on Tuesday. ~Theresa

  5. Nice one sir. I'll meditate on it tomorrow. Thanks for posting.

  6. Beautiful poem. I especially love those last two lines and the boy's dream humming deep inside the man. Thanks for sharing this!