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“A Man’s Worth” – Tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

My poem, “A Man’s Worth” is quoted in the following article about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.



January 15, 1929 was the birth date

Of the man who was called to combat hate


The man who wanted freedom to ring

The man of peace, Dr. Martin Luther King


He was a minister with a voice that resonated in your soul

A freedom fighter who only lived to be 39 years old


As you speak or hear others call his name

As you remember his voice or the public’s acclaim


As you consider Dr. King’s legacy and his worth

There are countless reasons to celebrate his birth


Yet, there are some questions that can be asked

About how he completed his life’s task


Did he help somebody along life’s way?

Did he call on God? Did he faithfully pray?


Did he preach about love, freedom, justice and peace?

Has the need for his preaching— ceased?


Did he speak and work to serve his people and his nation?

Did his teachings strengthen the world’s foundation?


Were there enemies who hated him? Was he reviled?

Did hatred stop him from walking his mile?


Did he write a “Letter from a Birmingham Jail?”

Did he ask others to pray for him so he wouldn’t fail?


Do you remember the dream he openly shared?

Do you recall his love for his people and that he really cared?


Who joined him in his fight against poverty and discrimination?

Did you help him, without reservation?


In 1968, too soon, did violence take him away?

Does his legacy continue to have something to say?


When you hear the name, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Do you balance his burdens with his sense of humor?

Do you remember his laugh or his bright smile?

Could you walk in his shoes for half a mile?


Do you recall the man, the brother, the father, the husband or the son?

Do you remember this country before his work was begun?


Was there a Nobel Prize for this noble man?

A man of vision who had the courage to stand


To stand for peace, for justice, for freedom, for love

To stand ready to meet his Creator, God above


During Reverend King’s short time on this earth

Is the world better because of his birth?


These are some questions you might ask

About the man in whose legacy we now bask


Yet, there is no question about Dr. King’s value or his worth

There is no question about why this nation celebrates his birth


He came and left this nation, this world, profoundly changed

For his work, a National Memorial bears his name


The Memorial honors Dr. King’s visionary plan

A plan for justice, love, peace and freedom for every man


So put your hands together and boldly stand

Stand and applaud the life of this extraordinary man


Stand and commit to doing the work that remains to be done

The work needed to heal this nation and its people, one by one


Stand and truly honor this honorable man

Then ask:

Am I doing the very best I can

To preserve his vision and fulfill his plan?

CeLillianne Green Copyright © 2011


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