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This is an AP photo of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King.

Since Martin Luther King Jr. Day has become one of the most popular holidays in the world, it would make some serious sense to feature a poem about King for the Quotable Poet’s January Poem of the Month. But guess what? I couldn’t find a poem by him about Martin Luther King Jr. specifically. What I dug up was his classic, “American Widow: Song for Coretta Scott King,” from the Collected Poems of Aberjhani.

You can see on the AD page where a lot of people gave this poem props because the poet gave props to the woman who kept King’s dream alive for years after the man himself had been assassinated. I give it double props because he wrote it in her voice, which a lot of black men poets wouldn’t dare to try. Outside of that, not a whole lot else need to be said except here it is…


AMERICAN WIDOW: SONG FOR CORETTA SCOTT KING

Martin you could not of course
but you should have seen it,
the wind turned to frozen thorns
when your coffin kissed the earth,
they drilled leprous holes in my arms
and the children all said
Mama please don’t Mama please
but Friend where are you?
I have searched the bellies
of stars and storms for your
miraculous voice, I have walked seas
and seas of crippled night to hear
the songs of your touch and…

Friend of Mine when the dirt covered
your coffin crowds fainted
in the streets and up on the hills
of their souls our children sang
“I’m goin’ up yonder, I’m goin’
up yonder to be with my Lord,”
but not without me I’d always thought.
Oh my Soul, why did you go
so far without me, but the most
wondrous thing, the kind of wondrous
thing that amazed you most
was the sun gushing blood all over
my bereaved life while the preacher
said such nice true things about
you he must have thought
he’d made them up, I recalled
as he spoke, the early days
when we burned like two summers
in the shade of our hearts, I recalled
days of swimming bare-skinned
in the waters of each others’
freedom-hungry minds and even now
a cloud is coming yonder dripping bones
over my bones it is the kind
of wonder that amazed you most
oh dear good Martin, call me to where
you are please I long to show it to you.

by Aberjhani
© 2006

Post by MS/25

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