John Lewis

By AM

Dedicated to John Lewis, one of my heroes

I remember when I met you in 2001; when you spoke at my high school in D.C.
At the time, you told us “good trouble” was your motto
And what you stood for was equality for all people
Listening to you, I was inspired and sought to learn more
About you, but never forgot the day I got to shake your hand
The trouble I engaged in wasn’t good and sent me away
But I always remember your speech at my school
When I got to see the movie Selma, I knew your name would become more well-known
For those who didn’t know

You paved the way for many and stood on the frontline for a nation in peril
To change the narrative with many other leaders like yourself
When I saw the documentary “John Lewis: Good Trouble” on your life’s work
I watched how you pushed for the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and other laws you passed
But I remember the words that would forever stick with me
Which was when you said, “We only pass through this way once”
I took these words to mean how you fought for so much throughout your life
That you’ll get to do once and leave the legacy behind of what you have done to live on

You got the chance to witness the rise of a new movement
And encourage us all to continue the fight
And kept your voice heard by all, even while sick
So I honor you, look up to you, and will never forget all you have done for the cause
And all people throughout your life on this Earth
May your name live on, and may you rest in paradise

Peace.

10 Comments

  1. Bria Tolson on July 5, 2021 at 11:19 AM

    Hey AM, I enjoyed reading your poem. I always wanted to look up to someone so that I could have some sort of guidance or direction in the world instead of having to figure it out all on my own for the most part but I’m really happy that you decided to look to John Lewis as being one of your heroes. I did not know much about him until after he passed unfortunately but I always remember hearing his name when the discussion of civil rights came up so I feel like he probably was just as great as everyone says that he is. And the quote that you got from Mr. Lewis “We only pass through this way once” is something I’ll take with me and apply to the rest of my life”

  2. Madison White on July 15, 2021 at 11:47 AM

    This is a wonderful tribute to John Lewis. What an incredible story that you got to meet him and hear him speak! I hope that his legacy lives on for centuries, and it’s work like yours that can insure his history and legacy are not forgotten. Well done!

  3. David Meyer on August 3, 2021 at 10:15 AM

    I think John Lewis is a hero for all of us, whether we know it or not. It was great to hear how your paths crossed and had a positive impact on your life. One day someone may write a poem like this for you

  4. Steve Wermiel on August 16, 2021 at 9:46 AM

    I knew John Lewis, too. I think his belief in the good in every person and the potential for redemption is captured perfectly in your poem.

  5. Jonathan Panton on August 16, 2021 at 9:47 AM

    That was a beautiful dedication to an American hero

  6. Katie on August 16, 2021 at 10:05 AM

    AM, your love for John Lewis is apparent and admirable. He was a hero to many, and he did so much good by making trouble, which is inspiring for young activists everywhere. I am sure that John would love the tribute that you wrote for him, and I hope that he continues to inspire you.

  7. Adriana on August 19, 2021 at 10:27 AM

    I really like how you compared and contrasted your life to Lewis’ motto of good trouble and all of the leaps and milestones he made, it was very cool to hear how you once even met him in person! The lines about the legacy one leaves and how you only get a one way ticket during life are also very impactful and resonate with the larger human question “what is the secret to life?” I think you’re an amazing writer and definitely did John Lewis proud.

  8. Sophie on August 19, 2021 at 10:28 AM

    AM,
    I hadn’t heard of John Lewis before this, but I’m now incredibly interested in who he was and what he did. I feel like it’s moments like this that mean so much to people’s legacies. Your recollection helps his memory live on, and that’s the greatest gift you can give to your hero.

  9. Joy on August 19, 2021 at 10:30 AM

    I love this poem and your tribute to John Lewis. He was truly a remarkable man in this world, an inspiration to many, and thank you for sharing how he has influenced your life.

  10. Amma on August 19, 2021 at 10:41 AM

    Hi AM– this is such a great tribute to John Lewis. I especially like the way you connected his legacy to what’s happening right now with the Black Lives Matter movement. Great work on this poem– I hope to read more from you!

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