My poems podcast, Words by Winter, can be found here.
Four years ago my family and I flew to DC to protest cruelty, bigotry, and oppression. My memories of that day, the people I met, the signs I saw, the peaceful and profound determination I witnessed, have stayed with me through the years and the marches since.
None of us are responsible for the world we’re born into, but all of us are obligated to right the wrongs we see. I used to think I was a pretty enlightened person when it came to the baked-in racism and sexism and fundamental unfairness of life in this country, but I wasn’t. My eyes are fully open now. Amanda Gorman’s fierce grace and power as she delivered her poem last Wednesday transfixed me.
The Hill We Climb (excerpt), by Amanda Gorman
We will not march back to what was
but move to what shall be
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation
Our blunders become their burdens
But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
and change our children’s birthright
So let us leave behind a country better
than the one we were left with
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it.