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Poem of the Month for April 2020

Post Date:March 20, 2020 2:52 pm

I wrote the poem below for the Davis celebration of Martin Luther King Day. I am sharing it now as I think the theme fits the crisis we all now face. This is a time for helping those in need, for standing together -- even if we are all six feet apart. We must not surrender to despair and darkness, we must keep hope alive among us. This is our community, and we must care for each other. As a community, as a city, as a people united, we will come out the other side and go on.

Come Into The Light

Dr King said that darkness
Cannot drive out darkness.
Only light can do that.
And hate cannot drive out hate.
Only love can do that.

I will not embrace the darkness.
I will not hate. I refuse.
I choose to welcome the immigrants.
From Syria.
From Guatemala.
From Mexico and Somalia.
I welcome them to America.
I do not care how they pray
Or the color of their skin.
I welcome them. Here.

I will not embrace the darkness.
I will not hate. I refuse.
I stand against detention camps and cages.
Against seizing their children.
I would open the cells and the gates,
And I would smash the cages.
I would open this land to them.
This city.

I will not embrace the darkness.
I will not hate. I refuse.
I encourage my city, my state, my country
To help the homeless,
To help the sick.
I would open the hospitals and the schools
And build shelters.
I would have our hearts be open, too.

I will not embrace the darkness.
I will not hate. I refuse.
The government must not tell women
What to do with their own bodies,
Or have prisons that exist to make a profit,
Disproportionately jailing people of color.

I will not embrace the darkness.
I will not hate. I refuse.
I will stand against spoiling our planet
With fracking, with new oil wells,
More pipelines, more coal mines,
Or clear cutting the forests.
Valuing the dollar over the life of the earth.

I will not embrace the darkness.
I will not hate. I refuse.
I stand against the patriarchy,
The culture of rape,
The profit system, greed over need,
White privilege.
These things are the darkness.

Dr King said that darkness
Cannot drive out darkness.
Only light can do that.
And hate cannot drive out hate.
Only love can do that.

Come into the light,
Embrace your brother, embrace your sister,
No matter where they were born,
No matter how they pray,
No matter how they love.

Come into the light,
Stand up for peace,
For closing the hundreds of military bases
That hold the world at gunpoint,
Bring home the troops
And get them the help they will need.

Come into the light,
House the homeless, feed the hungry.

Come into the light,
Work for need, not greed.
Open your heart,
Come into the light.

Dr King said that darkness
Cannot drive out darkness.
Only light can do that.
And hate cannot drive out hate.
Only love can do that.

James Lee Jobe
Poet Laureate, City of Davis