Monday, January 21, 2013

Quick Hits: the Inaugural Poem

I want to know what you thought of the inaugural poem, “One Today,” by Richard Blanco. It's why we have a comment section. Watch him read the poem at the NPR Blog and here is the complete text of the poem, courtesy of the LA Times:
“One Today” 
One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows. 
My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper—
bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives—
to teach geometry, or ring-up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem. 
All of us as vital as the one light we move through,
the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:
equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,
the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming,
or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light
breathing color into stained glass windows,
life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth
onto the steps of our museums and park benches
as mothers watch children slide into the day. 
One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk
of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat
and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills
in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands
digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands
as worn as my father’s cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes. 
The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains
mingled by one wind—our breath. Breathe. Hear it
through the day’s gorgeous din of honking cabs,
buses launching down avenues, the symphony
of footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,
the unexpected song bird on your clothes line. 
Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,
or whispers across café tables, Hear: the doors we open
for each other all day, saying: hello, shalom,
buon giorno, howdy, namaste, or buenos días
in the language my mother taught me—in every language
spoken into one wind carrying our lives
without prejudice, as these words break from my lips. 
One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed
their majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked
their way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:
weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more report
for the boss on time, stitching another wound
or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,
or the last floor on the Freedom Tower
jutting into a sky that yields to our resilience. 
One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn’t give what you wanted. 
We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always—home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country—all of us—
facing the stars
hope—a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it—together

Representative Eric Cantor didn't seem to enjoy it, HuffPo reports:

On Twitter, poet Erin Belieu thinks the complainers should put up or shut up:

4 comments:

Daniel Pritchard said...

I will say that I thought it was better than many or most occasional poems I've seen.

lablu∞z said...

Like the Inaugural address it is entirely of the moment. The apirations are in the past opportunities and projects of this Nation. The blending of self- with national narrative should evoke more; the poems failures are the Nation's(Ours) —We are the actors of mediocrity, worker ants failed economic policies; tinkers, tailors, soldiers, spies of a military-industrial-edutainment complex we only know/interact on tele.

Our experiences are, like. Our coffees and cheeseburgers and clothing and movies and porn and poetry, uniform. We know what to expect. We have been previously informed of its quality. We find assurance in the standard issue aprons/sidearms/tassles/tweed worn by all. We tell gonzo-journalize our life on Twitter. We are horrified about the economy now its so bad we are affected. We are so pleased the Red Ribbons worked and no one (we know) has AIDS. Walking against breast cancer is an human right. Pets are family. We hope it will never end.

The mendacity of Hope.

In that space, all that remains is the Future.

===
Approximately fourth comment on http://t.co/bXiV6Twq

W was twice elected (or maybe once and once selected) Compassionate conservative, he said, Not to squander what Clinton did... A darling of the GOP Of tax cutters, and don't tread on me, Eight years his reign began with a promise His legacy to us: unending debt, war An economic shop of horrors. More dollars more debt he to the congress whispered And the Republicans each time delivered, Yet in his time not one march, not one rally, No tea party, to fly the banner, Until the day of reckoning The king is dead, long live the king! Or savior, monkey, hitler, stalin, satan... Take your pick, just don't stop hating, Now rally folks, our moral outrage, Taxes, spending, this man will pay, For putting us in this awful plight Don't tread on me, it's time to fight, Obama wants to take our rights, Our guns, our lives, our money and He won't stop til he has our land. Eight years this country sank into the mud Of debt, war, torture, pain But now we stand to make it plain, We hate him, that Barack Hussein, But will let our land go down the drain. He won't stop til he has our land. Eight years this country sank into the mud Of debt, war, torture, pain But now we stand to make it plain, We hate him, that Barack Hussein, But will let our land go down the drain. cake or death,


lablu∞z said...

Like the Inaugural address it is entirely of the moment. The apirations are in the past opportunities and projects of this Nation. The blending of self- with national narrative should evoke more; the poems failures are the Nation's(Ours) —We are the actors of mediocrity, worker ants failed economic policies; tinkers, tailors, soldiers, spies of a military-industrial-edutainment complex we only know/interact on tele.

Our experiences are, like. Our coffees and cheeseburgers and clothing and movies and porn and poetry, uniform. We know what to expect. We have been previously informed of its quality. We find assurance in the standard issue aprons/sidearms/tassles/tweed worn by all. We tell gonzo-journalize our life on Twitter. We are horrified about the economy now its so bad we are affected. We are so pleased the Red Ribbons worked and no one (we know) has AIDS. Walking against breast cancer is an human right. Pets are family. We hope it will never end.

The mendacity of Hope.

In that space, all that remains is the Future.


~lb*/

===
[Approximately fourth comment down on http://t.co/bXiV6Twq]

W was twice elected (or maybe once and once selected) Compassionate conservative, he said, Not to squander what Clinton did... A darling of the GOP Of tax cutters, and don't tread on me, Eight years his reign began with a promise His legacy to us: unending debt, war An economic shop of horrors. More dollars more debt he to the congress whispered And the Republicans each time delivered, Yet in his time not one march, not one rally, No tea party, to fly the banner, Until the day of reckoning The king is dead, long live the king! Or savior, monkey, hitler, stalin, satan... Take your pick, just don't stop hating, Now rally folks, our moral outrage, Taxes, spending, this man will pay, For putting us in this awful plight Don't tread on me, it's time to fight, Obama wants to take our rights, Our guns, our lives, our money and He won't stop til he has our land. Eight years this country sank into the mud Of debt, war, torture, pain But now we stand to make it plain, We hate him, that Barack Hussein, But will let our land go down the drain. He won't stop til he has our land. Eight years this country sank into the mud Of debt, war, torture, pain But now we stand to make it plain, We hate him, that Barack Hussein, But will let our land go down the drain. cake or death, 21 Jan 2013



J.H. Stotts said...

it bears comparison to the reading rainbow theme song.