On this day decades ago, Martin Luther King was shot. April seems to be a month of all sorts of grim anniversaries: the Oklahoma City bombing, numerous school shootings (most notably Columbine and Virginia Tech), Hitler's birthday. And we often celebrate religious holidays in April, most notably in my brain Easter and Passover.
The weather in April can be violent too. I had all these images swirling in my brain when I wrote the following poem:
The Ides of April
Mid April, when bills come due and debts
must be paid. Both winter and summer battle
for dominance and rip the landscape
with tornadoes and late spring snows.
Good battles evil, captives set free
by way of forced and bloody frenzies. Refugees
driven from their homes trudge down dusty
roads towards a desert destiny of freedom.
A gospel of radical love battles entrenched
orthodoxy. We must sacrifice our lust
for structure and rules, our yearning
for punishment. We must arc our minds
towards grace and unconquered redemption.
We must be as flowers who battle
against the frozen ground, who thrust
themselves towards a distant sun
in the hope of a future warmth,
a profuse explosion of fiery blooms.
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