Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Praise song for the day.

Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others' eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.

A farmer consider the changing sky; A teacher says, "Take out your pencils. Begin."

We encounter each other in words, Words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; Words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, "I need to see what's on the other side; I know there's something better down the road."

We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables.

Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thy self."

Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need.

What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.

In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp -- praise song for walking forward in that light.

poem read by Elizabeth Alexander on the occasion of O'bama's inauguration


Powerful. So very powerful.



E said...

I stayed up late last night to watch Obama's inauguration.

The words of Rev. Lowery were really powerful and a highlight of the event. It's not just the words he said but how he spoke it.

I didn't enjoy the poem, primarily because I didn't like the way it was read.

As for Obama's speech, good but his address when he got elected was so much better and powerful.

Here's to Obama, Cheers!

nutart said...

i can see that the time has come for a resurgence of beautifully-made speeches. When was the last time I was profoundly moved by an inaugural speech?...or any political speech for that matter. I guess it is also helped by the fact that the image of Barack Obama is one of positive Change! I really hope and pray that this shining moment be constant and true throughout the years!

Thanks, Dan!

palma tayona said...

@ Noble: The benediction of the reverend was actually the most powerful that was delivered during O's inauguration. I suppose he gathers it from the shoulders of generations of black slaves whose prayers are based on hope, strength and faith that deliverance will someday come. This is their day and the world is in awe.

It's a beautiful day for hope and true equality.

palma tayona said...

@ nutart: yes, it is. i was glued to everything being featured about the inauguration the whole day. and am glad it happened in our time. methinks, this isn't just an american event that moves their people, it will eventually trickle down upon the whole world.

i wonder how this event, of having a black president leading the most powerful country in the world, affect Obama's roots - africa - the dark continent where many countries still endure suffering and strife.