The arrogant scoff and say to themselves as they rub their knuckles
“What a sissy notion. What a waste of time.”
Leafing through a history book, the pupils dilate
At the sight of red across the page, at the blood poured on streets
The cries of children, the weeping of mothers, the shouts of fathers muted by ink.
The ignorant see nothing as they watch the documentaries and mutter
“Hippie stuff. What a useless belief.”
The participants in chains, the participants hosed down
Violence on the nonviolent sends a sickening shiver down the spine
The actions of the brave warped by the abuse of the belitted.
They don’t see what lies beneath the placid calm
The thin ice covering the mighty ocean below
The invisible smoke fueled by a raging fire.
They don’t see the body outlines on restaurant booths
They don’t see the effect a simple presence has
They don’t see the persistence in the eyes of the silent.
What lasts longer?
The bruises and cuts and broken bones?
Or the words bursting from passionate lips and spilling over onto paper?
What makes a difference?
The anger embedded where bullets landed?
Or the changing of the heart through demonstration, preparation, and determination?
Who is the man? Who is the human?
Is it the one with a gun in his hand and a rock in his heart?
Is it the one who fights hatred with hatred?
Is it the one who uses his fists to show how unjust the world truly is?
It is the people walking and singing the spirituals their ancestors have sung
It is the people whose church, home, school were bombed and they kept on
It is the people who used the power of pen and ink to bring light to the dark
It is the words that thundered out of pulpits and into hearts.