25 May 2018

New Year, 2009, a poem by Gillian Clarke

A poem by the National Poet of Wales to honour the Inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America on 20th January 2009

Venus in the arc of the young moon
is a boat the arms of a bay,
the sky clear to infinity
but for the trailing gossamer
of a transatlantic plane.

The old year and the old era dead,
pushed burning out to sea
bearing the bones of heroes, tyrants,
ideologues, thieves and deceivers
in a smoke of burning money.

The dream is over. Glaciers will melt.
Seas will rise to swallow golden islands.
Somewhere a volcano may whelm a city,
earth shake its skin like an old horse,
a hurricane topple a town to rubble.

Yet tonight, under the cold beauty
of the moon and Venus, something like hope begins,
as if times can turn, the world change course,
as if truth can speak, good men come to power,
and words have meaning again.

Maybe black-hearted boys in love with death
won’t blow themselves and us to smithereens.
Maybe guns will fall silent, the powerful
cease slaughtering the weak, the rich
will not gorge as the poor starve.


Hope spoke the word ‘Yes’, the word ‘we’, the word ’can’,
and a thousand British teenagers at Poetry Live
rose to their feet in a single yell of joy –
black, white, Christian, Muslim, Jew,
faithful and faithless. We are all in this together.
Ie. gallwn ni.2


2Yes, we can in Welsh.

Gillian Clarke

2 comments:

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

this is simple and lovely. thanks for this piece...

Rethabile said...

It is, isn't it?

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