A poem and a political speech for hope on dark days

In light of the recent events in Christchurch, I offer a poem from a South African academic and a political speech from a US senator, both written and presented in Cape Town.

Where the rainbow ends

Where the rainbow ends
There’s going to be a place, brother,
Where the world can sing all sorts of songs,
And we’re going to sing together, brother,
You and I, though you’re white, and I’m not.
It’s going to be a sad song, brother,
Because we don’t know the tune,
And it’s a difficult tune to learn.
But we can learn, brother, you and I.
There’s no such tune as a black tune.
There’s no such tune as a white tune.
There’s only music, brother,
And it’s music we’re going to sing
Where the rainbow ends.

Richard Rive

Richard Rive was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1931. Although it was written about apartheid, it seems just as applicable today.

A ripple of hope

It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped.

Each time a person stands up for an ideal or strikes out against injustice, he or she sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

Robert Francis Kennedy

Senator Robert F. Kennedy was at the University of Cape Town on June 6th, 1966, in a controversial trip. His speech became known as ‘The ripple of hope’ speech, because it spoke to so many people.

Never underestimate the power of language to influence people and encourage change. Ripples and rainbows – they’re more than just an aesthetic.

8 comments

  1. We all need to take time to think about the spoken word. Truly kind and measured words. There are too many occasions where disrespect is shown and disregard for our fellow man. We need more of the poet and Bob Kennedy.

  2. Karen,
    An excellent pair of references to bring hope to a tragic event – well researched. They highlight that some people/politicians actually do think about issues of long term importance and are prepared to take a stand and have the word skills to make us take notice. Unfortunately not enough reside in this country.

  3. The Age 23/3 article “In a class of her own” comments on Jacinda Ardern’s use of words. “how carefully she has chosen language designed to unify her nation rather than allow its divisions to grow more bitter”

    The pen mightier than the sword, or in this case the gun.

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