Today the world is mourning the death of famed author Harper Lee at the age of 89. She wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird, which was first published in 1960 and made into a film in 1962. This story of racial injustice, set during the Great Depression, is told through the eyes of Jean Louise “Scout” Finch. Scout’s father, Atticus, is a small town lawyer in rural Alabama who is appointed to defend a black man against an accusation of rape. While Atticus is unable to prevent an unjust guilty verdict, the truth shines through his words in the courtroom.
Not surprisingly, my image of Atticus comes from the film version. Gregory Peck won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Atticus. From the movie, I always remember the words of an African American pastor to Scout, which I quote in my haiku below, as Atticus walks beneath the balcony from which the pastor and Scout and numerous African Americans in the town have been watching the trial.
Maybe there’s a scene in your mind that highlights a hero from a book or a film — someone who has been an inspiration to you and to others. Those heroes are the theme for today’s haiku. Say a few words about them in one verse with five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables in the third line:
Atticus lost . . . yet
the man says to Scout, “Stand up,
your father’s passing.”