14 January 2009

Poems for the inauguration of Obama

LAUNCH (by Billy Collins)

A boat is sliding into the water today
to test the water and the boat
which glides down a grassy bank
the prow touching the wavelets
then another push
and the length of it up and buoyant
the tapered length of it floating
toward the middle on its own
as we watch from the shore
pointing to the heavy clouds coming in
[continue there...]
**********

THE LAND WAS NEVER OURS (by Julia Alvarez)

The land was never ours, nor we the land's:
no, not in Selma, with the hose turned on,
nor in the valley picking the alien vines.
Nor was it ours in Watts, Montgomery-
no matter what the frosty poet said.
We heard the crack of whips, the mothers' moans
in anthems like an undertow of grief.
The land was never ours but we believed
a King's dream might some day become a deed
[continue there...]
**********

And many more, without forgetting Walcott's, though.

Odes to Obama, an article about these poems.

5 comments:

magiceye said...

powerfully brilliant writing!
loved them all!

Rethabile said...

Magiceye,
Even though it's really hard to write a poem because sb has asked you to.

Deb S. said...

Thanks so much for sharing these.

poetwithadayjob said...

Love these poems I am excited for Tuesday and glad my work will be streaming it on the projector for us all to watch - and thanks for stopping by my blog! I did read Blink and was completely transformed by it. I just love Gladwell. Saving Tipping Point for perhaps this summer.

Michelle said...

"but now above us only the sun's golden rafters
and the boat afloat
out there on the bright surface of the water."

Yes.

Thank you for this, Reth!