Search



the eighth day

« Rick Warren's Inaugural Invocation | Blog Home | Benediction at Inauguration »

January 23, 2009

Transcript of Inaugural Poem

Elizabeth Alexander, a professor at Yale University, wrote the inaugural poem for Barack Obama. Below is a transcription of her poem, provided by CQ Transcriptwire:

JANUARY 20, 2009

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.

Posted by gary at January 23, 2009 10:01 AM

Comments

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


Remember me?


September 2011
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30  

Recent Entries

Syndicate this site (XML) Powered by
Movable Type 3.121