For Dennis Brutus


A wrong-headed bunch we may be,
You wrote and today,
we are still wrong-headed
Years after your passing.

Lessons unlearned reverberate
In the halls on the Hill,
Where I sit, searching for words,
To ignite the hope and freedom
That you fought for,
That you broke rocks with Mandela for.

You called it the art and pain
Of crying out in the dark
And hearing no reply:

“Oh may I be strong
and brave
and courageous to follow truth”

You sing to me,
Spirit of the brave –
Gone when we need you most.

But your words remain
A beacon of knowledge,
Hope that tolerance, truth and freedom
Will finally live here among us.

But now we must break
The rocks of ignorance down and
Still the Sirens of hate.

My friend, we beseech
With urgent voices rising,
Your inspiration
To work against oppression,
In honor of you and those like you
Who saw us for more than we are.

For you,
We will be the voices of challenge,
Until like you, we are free.

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