poem by P.C. Scheponik

Back to the Dream


I wonder if Kent State, If Woodstock, if Steinman’s

bra-burning revolution ever happened.

Did Martin Luther King, Jr. ever have a dream?

Can we ever overcome the worst of who we are

to be the best that we could be?

All this talk of border walls when we have too many

walls already: walls of racism, walls of sexism,

walls of ageism, walls of gender hate, walls separating

rich from poor, walls of religion that keep others out and

lock us in, walls of ideologies made of blood and sin.

Press your ear to the earth. Hear the heartbreak of Native Americans’

cry for who they were, for what they’ve lost.

Hear the blood of African slaves singing the misery made

of their lives, of their history, of their future degraded all for the sake

of the white man’s dream. Go to the cities and hear the girders scream

the immigrants’ plight and pain.

Listen to the train rails grieve the names of those who sacrificed

themselves for the claim of sea to shining sea.

We are not a melting pot—never were—nor a salad bowl.

We were only ever a dream of a land where all would be free to live,

free to thrive, free to be happy to be alive, to have pride in country

and peace of soul. But walls have a way of blocking dreams, and if we

are ever going to survive, we must let go of the hate, stop all the lies,

and tear all these walls to the ground.

poem by P.C. Scheponik

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