Oratory from a Balcony

King of linguistic brilliance
melodiously singing,
always singing
…just listen

a perfect bell choir
on Palm Sunday when we toss our coats
on the gritty road to soften Mother Earth
for the grand entrance
we’ve been waiting for

his truthful words
a newly-sharpened sword piercing deep
into our heart
of hearts
revealing hope that lay in wait
like rubies tucked beneath our skin
…just listen

then comes his wildly imaginative
guttural bloomsday sermon
on Good Friday
when, like clockwork, a part of us dies
yet stupendously returns

every year, without fail
…just listen

the words we utter make
a difference
even the ghostly air vibrates around them
in pockets of harmony
or discord, depending

when you enunciate off-the-cuff, and
hurtful, damning words roll like butter
off your tongue,
do you doubt the power of language
to make another shrivel,
or make another

if you doubt,
just listen
to his deep, rhythmical voice
his mellifluous baritone hymns

and you will discover how words
shape the world

like a bell choir ringing in your
or sharp sword lodged in
your heart, bleeding
making you better
more human and whole

…just listen
and you will hear
the sound of released people
marching free


Some of us, of course, will die without having received the realization of freedom, but we must continue to sail on our charted course.

We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope. Only in this way shall we live without the fatigue of bitterness and the drain of resentment.

– Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love