Tuesday, February 19, 2013

365 Poems: More from Richard Blanco

Poet Richard Blanco
Day 50

When Richard Blanco read his poem at the inauguration, I wasn't that taken with it. Of course, I'm thrilled that poetry is included in the first place; if somebody could have read the phone book in a singsong voice, that's better than nothing. But at the time, I was left a little flat.

After I was able to read it, I realized I liked it. A lot. He really caught us at that day, that moment.

I especially like this stanza. He mentions my Great Lakes:

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.


That's good stuff, following the sun as it looks in at us.

And this, as he mentions the lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary, tying it to the dream we keep dreaming:

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.


Terry Gross talked to him today on Fresh Air. Listen to it here.

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