“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

“The arc of the moral universe is long,
but it bends toward justice.”

Justice does not come from police
executing choke holds and no-knocks.

Justice comes from citizens of conscience
breaking unjust laws and accepting punishment.

Freedom does not come from an army
of men carrying guns.

Freedom comes from an army of people
carrying signs, marching the streets.

This moral arc only bends to justice
because protesters are pulling.

(for MLK Day 2023 and the LP weekly prompt.)

About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.
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17 Responses to “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

  1. Yes, indeed! šŸ™

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the call to action, though honestly I don’t know what to do, what action, because I’m not going out to the streets. I write. I talk. But these days I mostly avoid people. I know the sense in which Dr. King said this quote and it’s a powerful piece of language however when you start talking to me about moral arcs my eyes glaze over. And I do believe this concept originated with the Scottish Rite Freemasons, which also makes my eyes glaze over. But I really like your poem. “Fighting for peace is like f’ing for chastity” we used to often say, but the wars continue.


    Liked by 1 person

    • With you’re writing and talking you can attempt to illustrate the injustice and oppression. I think that’s the best we can do as poets in addition to getting out in the streets.


  3. ivor20 says:

    And we shall keep pulling Bart …

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cassa Bassa says:

    That’s it, voices become one loud, firm voice to be heard.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jsimpsonpoet says:


    Liked by 1 person

  6. JeanMarie says:

    I came back to read it again. What makes nice poetry isn’t always real. I hope you’re right. I’m just not feeling it

    Liked by 2 people

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