That’s not a philosophic question – it’s the raison d’ etre for The Agonist.
I think it is particularly appropriate today to ponder why Martin Luther King, Jr. worked so tirelessly, what he and others died for.
“…to give a life
In the world of time and space among the bulks of actual things,
To a dream that was dreamed in the heart, and that only the heart could hold.”
– Padraig Pearse
Back in the sing-along ’60s, I once ex-temp’d a verse to ‘Michael, Row The Boat Ashore’:
“Maybe Lord, I ain’t been free – hallelujah!
But my children’s gonna be – hallelujah!”
Some generations do more heavy lifting than others. MLK Jr was one who ‘thought of the children’.
It is helpful sometimes, particularly in the darker hours, to remind ourselves of why we struggle: we want something better, if not for ourselves, then at least for future generations and – I am optimistic enough to believe – for everyone, not just our own family/ethnos/country.
Between the mechanics of iiving and our attempts to improve it, we often lose sight of the things which make life and the struggle worthwhile.
The Agonist is not a family place, but it can foster friendship.
It is not an art gallery, but it can provide beauty, in it’s myriad forms.
It is not a literary venue, but it can share poetry.
The Man Beneath
Tatters and the naked man beneath
and the grime of the forsaken past
and the keepsake purity of what was future,
more anger than a failure can maintain,
a rigid pride where wisdom would be silent.
This man has seen harsh seasons
yet none so bitter as his shade.
You who find a challenge in each sound,
notice the scars and the shuddering reflex,
consider how he came by his compassion
and wonder that
his touch burns like a brand-iron.
There was a time he moved as an animal
and his will sufficient for his reach.
There was a once he did not feel his skin crawl
at the sight of a suspended moment
or gasp to hear his world
crumble beneath thundering centuries
The knowledge of his world as it fell,
it cracked across his mind and who he was.
This man remembers an instant out of time
when he shared
Eulogy – For Everyone
Three birds came to announce the wind,
the soft blue wind,
three birds flying as one
over the hard green earth.
The garden was quiet, very
as if things
were buried there.
And one red rose
(so dark dark dark it seemed about to bleed)
fell red-bursting on the silver air
and shattered the hard green earth.