Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Richard Blanco's Inaugural Poem

It must be difficult having to write a poem for a presidential inauguration but if you're asked then you can hardly refuse. And to have to read it in public too to all those people who probably haven't read or listened to a poem for ages. And you can't have it too short because it might seem that you are not giving value for money and if it's long people will start to get restless.

So what the heck! It's not going to be the best poem you ever wrote but it's the one most people will hear. Richard Blanco did a reasonably good job I thought. Not much online reaction which probably means he played safe, made a few good references - Martin Luther King, recent school killings - and avoided anything controversial.

The poem was called One Sun and attempts to describe one day of the American dream, the vitality and variety of the country and its people:

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,

Full text of the poem and a video of the reading here.

All this reminds me I was asked to write a poem for the anniversary of Navan Education Centre. Now there's a difficult task. Hmmm I could call it One Centre.

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