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Archive for the ‘poem’ Category

Inaugural Poem

“Praise Song for the Day,” written and recited by Elizabeth Alexander on January 22, 2009

Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other’s
eyes or not, about to speak or speaking.

All about us is noise. All about us is
noise and bramble, thorn and din, each
one of our ancestors on our tongues.

Someone is stitching up a hem, darning
a hole in a uniform, patching a tire,
repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere,
with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum,
with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky.
A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin.

We encounter each other in words, words
spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed,
words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark
the will of some one and then others, who said
I need to see what’s on the other side.

I know there’s something better down the road.
We need to find a place where we are safe.
We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain: that many have died for this day.
Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges,

picked the cotton and the lettuce, built
brick by brick the glittering edifices
they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.

Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,
others by first do no harm or take no more
than you need.
What if the mightiest word is love?

Love beyond marital, filial, national,
love that casts a widening pool of light,
love with no need to pre-empt grievance.

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air,
any thing can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,

praise song for walking forward in that light.

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Happy Pride 2008

To those who participated, those who wanted to but couldn’t, and those who will next time…

Via this dear friend:

Happy Pride Parade 2008

In the name of Peace and Pride
On behalf of The Holy, who is our Divine Beloved
Because WE are Holy
We march today

For those who cannot march
For those who have marched before
For those who have no idea that anyone can march
We march today

For you, if you would like
For ourselves
For the intersection of the sacred and the profane
We march today

To honor the past
To change the future
To live in the present
We march today

Also – check this out.

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Powerful story and poem by Julie Buffaloe-Yoder.

Thanks again, Julie. Will share with my students in the fall.

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