Sunday, January 25, 2009

Obama's Inaugural Poem

Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other's
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.

(I think this is over assuming)

Someone is stitching up a hem, darning
a hole in a uniform, patching a tire,
repairing the things in need of repair.

(Americans tend not to do this anymore. If we need to repair something, we give it to the repair guy, or call the repair guy to come do it. If our clothes suck, we tend to buy new ones. Some of us like wearing old clothes, but a lot of us just buy new ones. Our culture likes it.)

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

(Boom box? This stanza is so full of bullshit... You can't make much of your own music with a boom box. You CAN however, forgo creativity and make someone else's.)

A woman and her son wait for the bus.
(in England maybe, public transit in America has gone to hell.)
A farmer considers the changing sky.
(American Farming is going to hell.)
A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin.
(American Schools are going to hell.)

(And beyond that, why is the woman's son waiting for the bus skipping school if all of this is happening at the same time? You can get sent to jail for that nowadays.)

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

(Where are you going with this?)

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark
the will of some one and then others, who said
I need to see what's on the other side.

(Like the chicken? Still don't know where we're going with this)

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 (racist) and the lettuce, built
brick by brick the glittering edifices
they would then keep clean and work inside of.

(Did you just end a sentence with a preposition?)

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

(I understand this less and less as it goes on. Who thought this was good?)

Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,
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 pre-empt grievance.

(how very hippy of you. First stanza about love is good, now you're hammering it home a little too hard. Still don't know where you're going with any of this.)

In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air,
any thing can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,

praise song for walking forward in that light.

(That was it? I don't get it)

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