Poetry Month

Read an excerpt of Martin Rising: Requiem for a King

Emily Morrow  //  Apr 3, 2018

Read an excerpt of Martin Rising: Requiem for a King

April is Poetry Month, and to celebrate, we'll share an excerpt each week from a book that celebrates the beauty and power of poetry! This week, we're spotlighting Martin Rising: Requiem for a King by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney.

About the book: With imagination and power, the highly-celebrated Pinkney duo shows how MLK's nonviolent struggle for civil rights elevated not only the martyred leader, but all who joined him in hope and love. 

In a rich embroidery of visions, musical cadence, and deep emotion, Andrea and Brian Pinkney convey the final months of Martin Luther King's life—and of his assassination—through metaphor, spirituality, and multilayers of meaning.

Andrea's stunning poetic requiem, illustrated with Brian's lyrical and colorful artwork, brings a fresh perspective to Martin Luther King, the Gandhi-like, peace-loving activist whose dream of equality—and whose courage to make it happen—changed the course of American history. And even in his death, he continues to transform and inspire all of us who share his dream.

Scroll down to read three of the lyrical poems—and see Brian's stunning artwork—from Martin Rising right here!


February 14, 1968

Martin once said:
"We must meet the forces of hate
with the power of Love."

Martin once said:
"I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear."

Martin once said:
"Love your enemies."

On this day
of doily hearts,
and gold-foil candy,
and the Supremes' "Baby Love" wishes,
folks in Memphis
are down on their knees
proposing to Equality:

Be mine!


April 9, 1968 - After-Mourning Morning

Atlanta streets,
a bottlenecked swarm
of footsore souls,
unfurl in a funeral procession.

Sad steps paint the wailing veil.

Lost moths
whose dust-powdered wings
flit in a frantic parade,
eager to draw warmth
from the rickety mule-drawn hearse
that carries their resting King.


April 12, 1968

settled like fog,
has a golden roof
that can only be seen
from above its shingles.

Looking down from atop Sorrow's canopy,
is dappled with warmth.

finally ripened,
spills brilliance.

      Sorrow, you are a stubborn cloud that clings.
      But did you see sunset's hidden promise?

There is hope in the gloaming!

Read more about Martin Rising here!