The statue of a great man stands in the park
Every night, alone in the dark.
His story is legend, the subject of books
All stashed away in dusty old nooks.
The pedestal bears a quote from his lips
That people have turned into irreverent quips.
He stands at attention with a gesture of praise
And slowly corrodes in the afternoon haze.
Lichen grows quietly in the crook of his arm
As little by little he loses his charm;
Passion, conviction, and eloquent words
Hold little meaning for an audience of birds.
No longer enthralled by the speeches he gave,
People stand 'round, take pictures, and wave.
They eat lunch beneath him or walk idly by,
Never wondering what gleams in his polished stone eye.
Did he have many friends, did his fame keep him trapped?
Did he feel any butterflies when listeners clapped?
Few ever thought of his feelings as such,
Despite the fact that they owed him so much;
Yet still every evening when the masses take flight,
The great man remains to stand watch for the night.

~Stacy Clifford

© 2000
Art: Martin Luther King Jr. statue, University of Texas campus in Austin