Monday, January 19, 2009

Inaugural Poem

Okay, okay, so I know Barack didn't ask me to write the poem for his inauguration. Which was an oversight, obviously, but in the circumstances, a perfectly understandable one. I mean, I can see why he might think that picking the right person for, say, the Secretary of State, is more critical than picking the right inaugural poet. And I understand that there are sound political reasons why Elizabeth Alexander is the better choice (such as, for example, the need to pick someone who's actually a US citizen). Plus I happen to think Ms. Alexander is actually a pretty decent choice - a solid, dependable poet with many virtues.

All of which being why I'm not going to hold Barack's snubbing me against him, and will write him an Inauguration poem anyway, one that he can either a) sigh over in the privacy of the White House or b) use in 2012. Hey, everyone else is doing it, so why can't I? Here goes:

No, History does not march,
it endures.

Stumbles from door to door
seeking a place to hide,

survives from year to year
like an animal in flight

from its own shadow,
from the damage it leaves in its wake.

And yet there are times –
just before daybreak, say,

or coming over a ridge –
when its sees the road stretch away

into the distance,
and forgets to be afraid;

times when it pauses, inhales,
and with a slight lift

of its shoulders, prepares
to face what’s ahead.

You're welcome, Barack. And best of luck. You're going to need it.

Update: Here's the text of Elizabeth Alexander's poem from this morning. And here's a video of her reading.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That was simply lovely.

Thank you.