13 July 2015

Yes


we can he said, and something in his voice
drew listening silence to it like a day
draws history; a gathering of hope and hurt
within the human music of his words.
This is what language asks of us, to hear
the truth’s full rhyme; and why the millions came
to where he spoke, the air they breathed a canvas
for his living speech. We read his lips: a prayer
for bitter faithlessness to learn, a blessing, vow,
a spell which banished lies and greed and harm
into the endless, generous sky. In his voice,
global and intimate, the voices echoed back –
a black woman’s insisting on her seat,
another man’s who said he had a dream.
© Carol Ann Duffy

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Carol Ann Duffy