Martin Luther King Day 2020

a robin

flying from frozen boughs

winter plumage

alighting on the feeder

covered with snow

This morning scene reminds me to fill the seed bucket, put on my boots and wade out to top up the feeders.

Yesterday was Martin Luther King day in the United States. From Frank Tassone’s Haikai Challenge I learned that this holiday is designated as a day of service—a ‘day on’ rather than a ‘day off’, inspired by Doctor Reverend King Junior’s example and praise of community service: “He who is greatest among you shall be a servant.”

My first impulse was to dust off my dormant question “should I take on a volunteer job?” On reflection, my view of service, in general, and my own service, in particular, has deepened. Many of us, including myself, care for immediate and extended families. Yet there is another kind of service that extends into the community, outside our homes. ‘Out there’ are more people, trees, meadows, roadways, recycle bins, wildlife, wandering pets and so on. Without taking on a job there are many opportunities to act for the benefit of our world—to give, to protect, to show by our actions that we care about all humans and the world we depend on, whether natural or manmade. That sense of the collective is what I take away from this Martin Luther King day, an appreciation of what I already do and the humility to know that more is a possibility.

©️2020 Ontheland

Ancient warrior ghosts—soliloquy no renga

Ancient warrior ghosts

mists over the foreign highlands

waiting for the full moon



legends of our ancestors

our questions unanswered


wind-spun leaves falling

barren branches touching sky

taste the autumn rain


here is yesterday’s footpath

buried under winter snow


full moon rising

blood surges in beating hearts

silver lights the night


M L King’s sword of courage

host of heroes standing by


©️2018 Ontheland

This short Solo Renga is for Carpe Diem’s Weekend Meditation #41 Soliloquy no Renga “ancient warrior ghosts”. The opening haiku is written by Chèvrefeuille. In a regular Renga people take turns in writing alternating two-line and three-line stanzas. In a solo renga one person writes all that follows the opening haiku.

Remembering Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for a better day

Martin Luther King’s words still resound with relevance 50 years after his murder on April 4,1968. At the time he was preparing to lead a protest in Washington called the ‘Poor People’s Campaign’. Bruce Witzel’s memorial, featuring quotations and photographs, is well worth a read.

through the luminary lens

Martin Luther king Jr. - photo by Dick DeMarsico - reproduction rights transferred to Library pf Congress. No copyright restriction known

MLK bumper sticker - bruce witzel photo

Art from Tubac Arizona (edited) - painting entitled Grief Knows No Boundaries - artist unknown

Or the full 53 min. audio recording ]

Living Memorial Sculpture Garden - created by Vietnam veteran and sculptural artist Denis Smith - photo by Bruce Witzel

Martin Luther King Jr. statue at Fresno California May 29, 2010 - bruce witzel photo

Memorial at Weed, California - bruce witzel photo

Living Memorial Sculpture Garden near Weed california

Girl in Mexico City, Oct. 1991 - Bruce Witzel photo

MLKJrQuote abour service edited

At the Getty Villa - bruce witzel photo

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Power to love

He who is
devoid of the power to
forgive is wrapped in arms of distraction
so absorbing that he is
devoid of the power to love,
captivated by the seductions of
pride, rage, and hurt.
These constant companions,
squeeze close.
Strange monsters, they Rule.
Monsters have No time
to breathe serenity, No time
to gaze at the stars or
to sniff morning air.
They nibble food laced with
shame, fear, sorrow and regret.

As the moon pulls the tides
and baby wolves cry in hunger,
monsters grow weary.
With three eyes open
you may glimpse a release
and murmur:
There is some good where I thought none could dwell. In the worst of us beats a heart ready to love.”

And under a full moon you know
some evil lurks like a dormant virus
in the best of us.

~ ~ ~

In response to dVerse Poetics: “Bold Tributes“. “…tonight we are going to be bold in our truth-telling by illuminating powerful quotes that inspire social justice, global peace, or human rights.” The challenge is to incorporate a quote in a poem, highlighting it in bold type. The quote I chose is of Martin Luther King Jr:

“He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us.”

©️2018 Ontheland