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(dedicated to the living spirit of Nelson Mandela)

By Michael F. Hopkins

Uplifting struggle is the measure

of how we build our lives. Solitary

steps dare the future of pathways.

Strangers cease to exist

in the face of one another.

Neighborhoods thrive without fear.

Nations work together to

shape a brighter world.

Odds don’t matter. When the choice

is between greed and virtue, the way

must be borne from Truth

not convenience.

The pressure often builds. Its

impact can inflict. Jaundiced

charm corrupts.

Wanton malice kills.

Compassion won’t be stopped. No twisted

law, no blinding custom, no vested interest,

no violence. No hate

can thwart the need for Freedom,

and the insistence of Justice

to be all that we should,

and never what one settles for.

MICHAEL F. HOPKINS is a Buffalo-based poet, educator, jazz critic and social commentator who has been active in the arts community for over three decades. He is the author of “A Kind Of Twilight” (Smiling Cat Publications) and writes and edits the ongoing critical forum “A Deeper Groove.”