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