Note: Revised from the original post of July 3, 2017 (Subtitled: a 4th of July epigrammatic poetic meditation)


When Martin’s misty dream,
that hallowed declaration, three score years past,
is awakened,
shaken by righteous hands
from virtuous ethereality
to daily corporeality…

When character,
not color or caste,
is the fairest, truest measure…

When this land’s loathsome history –
of the sown venal seed of prejudice,
the reaped rotted fruit of injustice –
is read aloud,
within the hearing of a moral Heaven,
by public, penitent voices repenting of the sin,
and promising, “Never again!”

Then America’s experiment will become experience.

For then America will “be America again –
The land that never has been yet –
And yet must be – the land where every one is free.”

© 2020 PRA


“Martin’s misty dream” – a reference to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s speech, I Have A Dream, August 23, 1963.

“be America again…” – from Let America Be America Again (1935), a poem by Langston Hughes (1902-1967); altered (“every one” substituted for “man”).

6 thoughts on “When…then…

  1. Thank you Paul! When I was younger I used to hope that the country would change and we’d all experience “freedom” BUT now that I’m over 60, that hope is really fading given today’s climate of hate. It make me really sad.

    Much love!


  2. I believe that I understand your sense of losing hope. I, too, from time to time, find myself edging toward (if not also falling into) the proverbial pit of despair…

    And then (as I, of late, when offering Compline or Night Prayer via livestream with my St. Matthew’s community, have taken to adding from Lesser Feasts and Fasts a word or two and the appointed Collect about whomever personage is recognized on a given date, thus, reflecting on one who has gone before us as a follower of Jesus and from whose life we, today, may draw inspiration), I think of John Robert Lewis. He labored long in the vineyard of the Lord for justice for all people and, though I imagine, on occasion, he felt the heart-tug of hopelessness, he carried on, bidding that we not…that we never succumb to despair. So, I draw courage and strength from his witness.

    Let us, then, carry on, for a luta continua…



    1. Paul, I strongly desire freedom and equality for every American, but it’s going to take much more time then I thought. Thankfully your commentary will at least keep me and others mindful of the necessary work.


  3. Robert, reading your response, I recall a sentiment, doubtless, I think, a truth expressed by Coretta Scott King. who wrote words to the effect that freedom is not a given from one generation to another, but rather must be won in each and every age. I am not sure of the context or the fullest intent of her expression. Nevertheless, as I reflect, it seems to me that freedom and equality – those precious elements of existence that make for the possibility of abundant living – are and can be like any bequest. That is, something granted from a prior day that, in a new day, must be nurtured and maintained or, for lack of attention, squandered. In this light, then, freedom and equality are not and cannot be once-won-then-done, but rather must sought day-by-day.

    As for your insight that “freedom and equality for every American…(will) take much more time,” I suspect that, in each and every age, and, sure, in our current era, we do not have all Americans proverbially pulling their oars in the same direction toward the fulfillment of the dream for all. For, always, their are contradictory desires and contrary aims, which, therefore, make the quest for freedom and equality ever and always a lifetime labor of love. Thus, a luta continua, the struggle continues.


  4. Thanks, Paul for your poetry. Pray that we will ever inch closer to the true America where everyone is truly equal.

    Pat Latin


  5. My dear Pat, I thank you for your kind words, both about the poetry and, more importantly for me, your prayer that “we will ever inch closer to the true America where everyone is truly equal.”

    Amen and amen and amen.



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