Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

I Had A Nightmare


I had a nightmare that this nation refused to rise up and so denied the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I had a nightmare that on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners refused to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I had a nightmare that the state of Mississippi, a state still sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, was not transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I had a nightmare that my two children lived in a nation where they were judged by the color of their skin not by the content of their character.

I had a nightmare last night.

I had a nightmare that down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls still were not able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I had a nightmare last night.

I had a nightmare that every valley was in shadow, every hill and mountain remained too high, the rough places stayed treacherous, and the crooked places sowed confusion, and the glory of the Lord was dampened, and all flesh remained blind.

There was no hope. Our faith was lost. We could not hew the stone of hope out of the mountain of despair. We could not transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. We could not work together, pray together, struggle together, go to jail together, stand up for freedom together, we did not believe we would be free one day.

We did not believe that all of God’s children would be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

We decided that America was not a great nation. We refused to let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. We did not let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. We denied freedom’s ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Freedom did not ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Freedom did not ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; freedom did not ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Freedom did not ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Freedom never rang from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, there was only the silence of injustice.

And when this happened, when we stilled the bells of freedom, when we forbade them from ringing from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we decided there would never be a day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, joined hands and sang in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

I had a nightmare.
We were not free.

I had a nightmare.
We forgot the dream.

Originally posted January 18, 2016

3 thoughts on “I Had A Nightmare

  1. Most on Earth have forgotten the dream. Ironically, I’ve worked with something called The Dreamspell for 25 years. It contains the innoculation for the memory virus that has affected the minds of all humans. In truth, we are one kin, one human race made of different cultures. It’s a bit complicated, but it is possible to wake our memories up. It will be in my book coming out, “Healer”. Thanks for writing the truth.


    1. Thank you for reading and your comments. Your Dreamspell sounds very intriguing. We indeed must awake to our collective conscience. Congratulations on your book! I hope it touches many.


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