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Life Arts

Praise Song For the Day; Inaugural Poetry

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copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

As Americans go about their day, they chortle, croon, and chatter.  Conversations are constant.  Hymns are hummed.  People sing even when there is no tune.  There is much said, and little heard.  Cries may strike a chord; yet, these too may be perceived as silence.  People talk.  They wail; and no one listens to the lovely lyrics that are sung.

Everyone is hurried.  Most are worried.  They fear the mundane that threatens their very existence.  Moms, Dads, even teens who must help provide for the family anxiously ask, will I have a job tomorrow?  Singles are not exempt.  Children too are concerned for they feel the disquiet amidst the noise.  The murmur that moves us might be summed up in a sentence, "will there be money in my pocket today?"  

Society, it seems, is engaged in selfish pursuits.  Personal survival is a more significant motivator than service.  There is no harmony in the hullabaloo that surrounds us.  The hum of reverence remains hidden.

The butcher, the baker, and the candlestick-maker move through the day with one song in mind.  How might I provide food for the family, and find shelter from all the storms? What of schools for my children, and an education for myself?  In the pandemonium, the only sound that echoes is an irksome song.

Most citizens of this country know not what will come.  Nor do individuals recognize the love that was and is.  Thus, they do as was done before them.

Just as their parents did, the tired, the hungry, the poor and downtrodden, talk of a secure future.  They walk towards what they want, or try to.   Heads are held high.  People work in factories.  They stitch finery.   Some drive trucks or taxis.  Others teach.  Builders construct edifices that will be too expensive for them to occupy.

Countless serve.  As they do so many deeds, they sing the customary song.

Farmers plant crops for a country starved for nourishment.  Field-workers pick the harvest.  Waiters and waitresses dish out the chow.  Chefs cook.  The rewards are paltry.  The reality is stark. All have hope for a better day.  Each looks out on the horizon.

Everyone strives to see the grass that certainly must be greener on the other side of the street.

Few realize that today was tomorrow.  All that they have was given to them with thanks to yesterday.  Ancestral devotion, dedication to the Seventh Generation has served society well..

The blood, sweat, and tears of persons who toiled in the past, gave birth to a nation that believes in love, liberty, and the light that everyone seeks.  The truth is, the sound often muffled by expressions of personal misery were lovely songs.

Today, as citizens consider the crisis that has become common in American lives, they hope for change.  No one noticed within the noise, was transformation.  Fondness for a shared future originated a renaissance that, as a country, we celebrate today.  

Collectively, we, the people have inaugurated a President that taught Americas, "Yes they can; Yes we can!"  A Poet, Elizabeth Alexander, who stood on the stage with the nation's newly installed leader helped the country to understand, that no one man could, or would do what the populace had already done.  In the name of love, on this very significant day, the American people could chant "Yes we have, and tomorrow we will again!"

Please peruse the poem, Praise Song for the Day.  Ponder what the American people have accomplished.  Imagine what we can achieve. 


Inaugural Poem 
By Elizabeth Alexander 
January 20, 2009

The following is a transcript of the inaugural poem recited by Elizabeth Alexander, as provided by CQ transcriptions.

Praise song for the day.

Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others' 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 someone 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 thy self."

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 preempt grievance.

In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp -- praise song for walking forward in that light. 

 

I am an Educator, a student of life; I am an Author. On each path I learn from you and with you. Indeed. we all teach and study. Together we advance awareness and acumen. We learn, grow, and glow greater. Please peruse my prose at BeThink.org and (more...)
 
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