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186th Virtual Poetry Circle

Welcome to the 186th Virtual Poetry Circle!

Remember, this is just for fun and is not meant to be stressful.

Keep in mind what Molly Peacock’s books suggested. Look at a line, a stanza, sentences, and images; describe what you like or don’t like; and offer an opinion. If you missed my review of her book, check it out here.

Also, sign up for the 2013 Dive Into Poetry Challenge because its simple; you only need to read 1 book of poetry. Please visit the stops on the 2012 National Poetry Month Blog Tour.

Today’s poem is from Richard Blanco, (Click on his name to read an interview with him about the process) and it’s the inaugural poem for those who missed it on television — see the video below:

Also, see the full text:

One Today

 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.

My face, your face, millions of faces in morning's mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper—
bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives—
to teach geometry, or ring-up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.

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. 

 One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk
of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat
and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills
in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands
digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands
as worn as my father's cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes.

The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains
mingled by one wind—our breath. Breathe. Hear it
through the day's gorgeous din of honking cabs,
buses launching down avenues, the symphony
of footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,
the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.

Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,
or whispers across café tables, Hear: the doors we open
for each other all day, saying: hello, shalom,
buon giorno, howdy, namaste, or buenos días
in the language my mother taught me—in every language
spoken into one wind carrying our lives
without prejudice, as these words break from my lips.

One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed
their majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked
their way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:
weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more report
for the boss on time, stitching another wound
or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,
or the last floor on the Freedom Tower
jutting into a sky that yields to our resilience. 

 One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn't give what you wanted.

We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always—home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country—all of us—
facing the stars
hope—a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it—together.

What do you think?

Comments

  1. It’s a good poem, but for me it was too long and I started losing interest when I watched him read it. Ah well.
    Anna (Diary of an Eccentric)´s last blog post ..Review: Austensibly Ordinary by Alyssa Goodnight

  2. wow the poem is very fantastic. Thank you for sharing it.

  3. I was blown away by this poem — Blanco is/was new to me so it was an especially wonderful delight. Really stellar selection — both for the inauguration and today’s discussion!

    I think my favorite bit (today), is this:

    My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
    each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:

    Gah — talk about capture the sleepy chaos of getting ready for the day. Beautiful.

  4. This is absolutely beautiful and it’s the first time I’ve heard it. He totally captures the message that we all need to hear…that we are all one humankind on this earth and we must stand together now more than ever in our history. Thank you for posting this, Serena. This is a poem that I will remember always.
    Michelle @ The True Book Addict´s last blog post ..Cat Thursday: Cats reading

    • I loved hearing him read the poem as well. I think it gives it an additional omph! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the poem. I’ve love Blanco’s previous work, so I was pleased when he was chosen for the inauguration.