I may have posted this here before, possibly last winter. I wrote it after having the strangest dream... Lincoln walked into a 'dream in progress' and gave a fiery oration about democracy.
It's hard to forget a dream like that.
I think I was still 'haunted' by a recent visit to the Lincoln Memorial, and the timeless words written on the walls of his shrine there. I noticed, for the first time, that he looks out across the Mall; directly at the Capitol Building. Directly at Congress.Watching them.A Warning
I had a dream, of darkness and despair;
And in that blackness I did see a man
And he, when saw me, reached out for my hand.
I knew the face, the countenance so bleak
And I: I could not face those anguished eyes.
He’s pacing now, his hands behind his back
His shoulders hunched, his agitation clear;
"Our Constitution tossed aside – and why?
Dark eyes, deep pools of wisdom and of grief;
In quiet desperation search my face;
And I, reminded of the ponderous price,
The heavy weight he bore to keep his faith;
To save the Union and restore the peace
and now he does not rest, even in death,
But brings a dire warning for our time:
"Democracy bequeathed to you at birth
Exists to serve the people’s will and need;
Do you no longer want this precious gift?
Of what are you so fearful now - of whom?
Of shadows that perhaps may
come to pass?
This is the strongest nation on the earth!
The biggest danger, always, was your fear;
And used against you, it has made you slaves!
Would you return at last to slavery?
Indenture unto corporate masters now?
This is your government! It’s yours!
And those who tell you 'no,' have robbed you blind
Defend it now, and stand while there is time!
Your freedom on this earth is in your hands;
For no one else can save you from your fate.
The time and place to serve your nation’s need
Is now; right here, and in this darkest hour.
Speak out, stand up, refuse the bitter pill
Of passive servitude and fearful doubt!
How can let your independence lapse?
You drain all meaning from their noble deaths;
The generations who before you fought
To keep the flame of liberty alight;
And now, their sacrifice - no consequence?
And this, from simple fear and ignorance?
And you - your education guaranteed;
Whereas, I learned to read by mine own will
And burning drive to know, then change my world.
Perhaps it is too easy for you now...
You have no concept of the price we paid.
Has too much time elapsed, that you forget?
You cannot see the armies, nor recall;
We faced the largest monarchy on earth!
With fierce desire for freedom we held on,
To live here free! To work this land in peace.
The story of our forefathers remains
In history books, available to all;
Thus any child of liberty can learn
Our nation's lineage and forward path.
If only you would seek to learn your past!
Democracy will pass into decay;
I would this fate had passed our children by.
This land, this government designed to last
Into eternity; and all we asked
Our children yet unborn, was vigilance.
We did not ask you light the fire yourselves;
But merely tend the flame lest it burn out,
or worse, be snuffed by malice and deceit.
For all bequeathed to you – for all we gave;
We died for you that you might know true peace.
Adversity is always
at the door;
Alas, true character is forged in fire,
And thus, is often lost as embers cool.
The child that knows not of the father’s pain,
Embraces war; and all must bleed anew."
Labels: Abraham Lincoln, art, Bill of Rights, Constitution, Democracy, poetry