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Saturday, July 25, 2020


by Judy Kronenfeld

John R. Lewis, 1940-2020

Given poverty, he created dignity.
Given indifference, he returned passion for justice.
Given intolerance, he expanded the meaning of tolerance.
Given violence, he gave his bashed-in skull.

He made himself the instrument of that oh-so-slowly bending arc—
so slow, it is easy to lose courage, but he didn’t.
Given venomous hatred, he returned love
because hate destroys the hater, and he knew it.

Parents, sit your children on your knees,
and explain to them—not marble
nor the gilded monuments,
nor lofty towers emblazoned—
explain to them what greatness is.

Judy Kronenfeld’s most recent collections of poetry are Bird Flying through the Banquet (FutureCycle, 2017), Shimmer (WordTech, 2012), and Light Lowering in Diminished Sevenths, 2nd edition (Antrim House, 2012)—winner of the 2007 Litchfield Review Poetry Book Prize. Her poems have appeared in Cimarron Review, Ghost Town, New Ohio Review, One (Jacar Press), Rattle, South Florida Poetry Journal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and other journals, and in more than two dozen  anthologies. She is Lecturer Emerita, Department of Creative Writing, UC Riverside, and an Associate Editor of Poemeleon.