I Dream A World

This year, on Martin Luther King Jr Day, NPR ran an interview with its poet in residence, Kwame Alexander.  Alexander noted that the poem “I Dream A World,” by Langston Hughes inspired Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech 58 years ago. He invited listeners to write and submit poems beginning with the line “I Dream a World.” From the submissions, he will take phrases and lines to create a community crowd-sourced poem embodying the listeners’ dreams. I was intrigued but didn’t enter the challenge.

Early on in the pandemic, a friend suggested that COVID may be a wake-up call to humanity. Social distancing might provide an opportunity for self-examination, reflection on the state of our crisis-ridden world, and imagining a better future. For some time, I have been struggling with how to express my dream for the post-pandemic world. A world presently plagued with poverty, injustice, racism, hate, inequality, sickness, war, and climate crisis. Though I can imagine a different, fairer, healthier world, my imaginings seem as naïve and unlikely Dr. King’s dream. After all, look where dreaming got him! Though I cannot make rational arguments to justify my vision for the future of the earth, and I am powerless to persuade others that it is viable or even desirable, I still dream.

The more I allow myself to dream, the more my desire for such a world grows and affects my words and actions. I hope that I will not let myself off the dreaming hook, that others will have similar dreams, and that change will be both imagined and created.

I Dream A World
 I dream a world
 Where each receives enough:
 Enough food to satisfy the body's hunger,
 Enough clothes for warmth or cool,
 Enough shelter to call a home,
 Enough learning to foster growth,
 Enough imagination to dream,
 Enough freedom to walk proudly,
 Enough work to impart dignity,
 Enough safety to banish fear,
 Enough respect to nurture hope,
 Enough hope to conquer despair, 
 Enough suffering to make one wise,
 Enough beauty to feed the soul,
 Enough love to fill the heart.
 I dream a world
 Where earth soaks up the gentle rain,
 The air is clean and clear,
 Where sea breeds and nurtures life.
 Where heat and cold are balanced
 And gently alternate
 Like night and day. 
 Where skies are black or blue,
 And stars and moon are bright,
 And sun warms, and shade cools.
 Where life is green
 And death embraces earth.
 I dream a world
 Where balance reigns 
 And justice rules
 Along with truth and love.
 I dream a world
 Where tender hearts are open,
 And open hands are giving,
 Where eyes are softly gazing, 
 And ears attuned to listening.
 I dream a world,
 Where perfection and failure
 Are not the nagging enemies of good.
 Where each unique being, 
 Each thing is treasured,
 Held in reverence and awe.
 I dream the change of hearts,
 Abundance shared by all,
 And lack no longer known.

 I dream of many friends,
 To walk with me this path
 Of letting go too much
 And wanting what's sufficient,
 So, all may have enough.

- Moriah Freeman
  January 23, 2021

6 thoughts on “I Dream A World

  1. Dear Moriah,

    Your poem “I DREAM A WORLD” is pouring your heart out to the people of our world, both in America and elsewhere world-wide.

    I would like to share it at the March meeting of the Poetry Group here at T.O. I hope that will be all right with you. The meeting will be on WEdnesday Feb 3 from 3 to 4 pm. Would you be able to come and read the poem to the group? We do meet in the Dining Room “live”….Hope you can be with us and share this special writing….



  2. BEAUTIFUL AND HEARFELT. I too join you in those dreams, and in choosing to live with the aim of making them true. Here’s to life, lived well! Thank you for sharing these thoughts with me. Pilar

    On Sat, Jan 23, 2021 at 3:43 PM With All Due Respect wrote:

    > respectful.com posted: ” This year, on Martin Luther King Jr Day, NPR ran > an interview with its poet in residence, Kwame Alexander. Alexander noted > that the poem “I Dream A World,” by Langston Hughes inspired Dr. King’s “I > Have A Dream” speech 58 years ago. He invited listeners” >


  3. A deeply moving poem, Moriah–and a much appreciated preface. I find myself alternately naive (mostly) and cynical (occasionally). But our dreams for tomorrow are the fuel for our actions today. So we have to keep dreaming. We must. I’m so happy that you’re sharing different aspects of your writing life here–it’s a beautiful window into You.


  4. In another forum I was invited to dream. This is very difficult for me for a variety of reasons. Mainly, I always imagine it as dreaming for something needed for myself; something that would make my life more meaningful, peaceful, or perhaps more generous. It is hard for me to be concrete about what that dream might look so I could really attempt to achieve it–as in dream becomes goal.

    The insight I got from that earlier meditation was that one must have a dream that arises out of community and is for others. Not for me alone. Wow! That did help me think that I could identify a dream that grew out of community needs that I could work toward and that was grounded in the experience of many.

    As you say Moriah there are so many dreams/goals that can be in this category and they can feel unattainable. But just as Dr. King prophesied the night before he died: I may not make it with you. So the dream may still need to be expanded after we leave this earth. But that does not mean we do not act while we are still here.

    The poem is also wonderful. Thank you. And may we all dream together in our different ways and capacities and slowly, slowly the world does become a better place.


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