This poem was written by poet Dr. Maya Angelou on behalf of the American people in memory of Nelson Mandela.
He rests at last, but don’t take comfort in the fact
His work’s unfinished, and he leaves us not to weep, but act.
Freedom is not food; the hungry are not free;
While companies (we’re told) are persons, people are property:
Girls may not be taught, and women are for trade;
Boys drown in pits of mud so cellphones can be made;
Across the earth, men fight in wars of creed, and need, and greed;
Peacemakers make no peace, leaders decline to lead;
The oceans rise against us, we watch as forests fall
And we persist in our belief that we can have it all.
So choose your field of hurt or want, injustice or abuse:
His spear is yours to pick up now, and yours to find its use.
And from his death and life, perhaps, a simple hope has risen:
Our world’s an island, but it need not be a prison.
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