Friday, January 22, 2021

The Inaugural Poem - Amanda Gorman

 “ Mr. President, Dr. Biden, Madam Vice President, Mr. Emhoff, Americans and the world:

When day comes we ask ourselves, 

Where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry, 
a sea we must wade?

We’ve braved the belly of the beast, 
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace. 
And the norms and notions 
of what just is 
Isn’t always justice. 

And yet the dawn is ours 
before we knew it
Somehow we do it. 

Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed 
a nation that isn’t broken, 
but simply unfinished.

We, the successors of a country and a time 
Where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother 
can dream of becoming president 
only to find herself reciting for one.

And yes, we are far from polished, 
far from pristine, 
but that doesn’t mean we are 
striving to form a union that is perfect. 
We are striving to forge our union with purpose. 
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and 
conditions of man.

And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us. 
We close the divide, because we know to put our future first, 
we must first put our differences aside. 
We lay down our arms 
so we can reach out our arms 
to one another. 
We seek harm to none and harmony for all.

Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried.

That we'll forever be tied together, victorious
Not because we will never again know defeat
but because we will never again sow division.

Scripture tells us to envision that 
everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree 
And no one shall make them afraid.
If we’re to live up to our own time, 
then victory won’t lie in the blade 
But in all the bridges we’ve made.

That is the promise to glade,
the hill we climb 
if only we dare
it's because being American is more than a pride we inherit –
it’s the past we step into 
and how we repair it.

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation 
rather than share it,
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy. 
And this effort very nearly succeeded. 
But while democracy can be periodically delayed, 
It can never be permanently defeated.

In this truth, 
In this faith we trust 
For while we have our eyes on the future, 
history has its eyes on us. 
This is the era of just redemption 
We feared at its inception.
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs 
of such a terrifying hour, 
but within it we found the power 
to author a new chapter, 
to offer hope and laughter to ourselves. 
So while once we asked 
‘how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe,’ 
now we assert: 
‘how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?’

"We will not march back to what was, 
but move to what shall be: 
a country that is bruised but whole, 
benevolent but bold, 
fierce and free. 
We will not be turned around 
or interrupted by intimidation 
because we know our inaction and inertia 
will be the inheritance of the next generation.

Our blunders become their burdens 
but one thing is certain:
 If we merge mercy with might, 
and might with right, 
then love becomes our legacy
and change, our children’s birthright.

So let us leave behind a country 
better than the one we were left with. 
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, 
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one. 
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west, 
we will rise from the windswept north-east 
where our forefathers first realized revolution. 
We will rise from the lake-rinsed cities of the midwestern states. 
We will rise from the sun-baked South. 
We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover 
and every known nook of our nation 
and every corner called our country,
 our people diverse and beautiful will emerge 
battered and beautiful.

When day comes, we step out of the shade, 
aflame and unafraid. 
The new dawn blooms as we free it. 
For there is always light 
if only we’re brave enough to see it, 
if only we’re brave enough to be it.”

-Amanda Gorman