They are heroes,
the men, the women,
and all the children, too;
who stand up to the bullies.
Like Jesus, who refused to be intimidated
by Herod’s threats;
or Rosa Parks, defying centuries
of white superiority;
or Malala, Pakistan’s daughter,
standing her ground to confront Taliban misogyny.
There is a choice set before each of us,
the poet said: love and fear.*
Bullies are cowards, we are told,
and will flee in the face of resolute opposition.
But with the support of institutional wealth,
power, soldiers and guns,
the bullies may be blind to the scrawled messages
on their crumbling walls, and don’t always go quietly.
The raw ferocity of fear can be a terrible thing,
the consequences; dreadful.
and many more whose stories we may never hear,
knew what was right.
Driven by a vision of all that might be,
they found the courage to live towards it.
Setting their sights upon the hoped-for goal,
refusing the temptations to avert their gaze
towards something simpler and less demanding,
they tread determinedly towards their Jerusalem..
© Ken Rookes 2013