On Hearing the Poet Amanda Gorman at the 2021 Presidential Inauguration

The Voice of Truth was yours that crucial hour
reverberating round our clouded world
with necessary eloquence and power
to drive the dire silence from the air
where speechlessness shook all our ears
with shouts and doubting, crowds impelled by fears,
which left us many questions: what comes next
when Liberty stands lost for words, perplexed?

What good would come from cowardice or hate,
inaction, malcontent? And what was great
about despair, division, pride, or lies?

Have we forgotten, or will we memorize
the hallowed truths once dubbed "self-evident,"
ensuring freedoms, even peaceable dissent?

Your answers - see and be the lights
and merging mercy, might with lefts and rights -
demands we task ourselves to quest above
unsettling dust, despondence, reach for love
and justice that is just for all, not one.

Then more of us - "e pluribus" - must run
unbound (with none among our dead in vain)
to govern of and by and for the reign
of nation, not of party, pay, or birth,
lest this republic perish from the earth.

May many mind your measured verse tonight
- that poetry compassion dares to write
when, in the course of inhumane events,
mere syllables may ease impediments
between the bruises senses fail to feel
and points too many claim to be unreal.

If I might speak, please,
let us heal.

Please let us bow our heads
or kneel.

Please let us pray to save all souls,
become more whole,
more in control
of self
of thoughts

of what we feel

flow clear as water


wake eyes like wide bright summer skies

to see the dawn
these stars
the stripes

that banner still there


- recurring forms and figures found
between the graves and battleground,
among past chapters left unread,
in future news, old myths unsaid,
or through our streaming screens and phones
or actors, artists
tones and stones -

that we may glean from history
more wisdom


discern old patterns that return,
averting errors where we learn.

And please, God, bless democracy.
Protect it ever.

Keep it free.

On Hearing the Poet Amanda Gorman at the 2021 Presidential Inauguration © Copyright 2021, Robert J. Tiess.

View this poem at AllPoetry.com

Photo prompt (photo of Amanda Gorman) inspiration challenge - link: https://allpoetry.com/contest/2770523-Photo-Prompt

Learn more about Amanda Gorman and her Inaugural Poem "The Hill We Climb":






Submitted: January 23, 2021

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