Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Inauguration

Aretha you were brilliant and your hat was just the best!

Watch CNN's brilliant photo montage

And here is Elizabeth Alexander's poem for the inauguration,lifted from the NY Times:

"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 considers 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.

Prise 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 pre-empt 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."

I remain a miserable old cynic, but I'm so glad I lived to see such joy written on so many faces. A great wrong has started to be righted.


Blogger Tommaso Gervasutti said...

It has been marvellous to come across Aretha turning the television on for the inauguration.
Aretha is one of my myths. The second LP album I bought in my life was Aretha's "Lady Of The Soul". I bought it in 1969 at a supermarket at the Lido, between Venice and the Adriatic sea.
I still live in Venice and listen to Aretha Franklin among others.
She represents the best possibleomen for Obama and the hard hard job he has in front.

7:39 pm  
Blogger PI said...

It was great to feel a united feeling of people all over the world, watching and hoping for 'something better down the road.'

11:31 pm  
Blogger Lucy said...

I thought that was a brilliant poem, and her delivery of it was just dreadful! Mind you she had a hard act to follow, didn't she?

There were many marvellous little by-the-ways such as Aretha's hat. I also rather enjoyed Biden getting caught out looking at the display on Malia's Coolpix when he should have been putting hand on heart for the anthem.

Why the hell shouldn't we enjoy the buzz? Relief can be a pretty good high in itself...

5:52 pm  
Blogger apprentice said...

Thanks all. Tammaso I'm glad Aretha moves you so, part of the pleasure in all this is seeing survivors like her enjoy their moment in the sun.

Pat and Lucy you are spot on, taking pleasure in the pre relief has been a pleasure in itself -I heard a famous NY Times reporter say that the sight of Bush's helicopter flying away was like seeing the bad guy leaving in some sci fi movie.

11:33 am  
Blogger blkbutterfly said...

that hat has certainly been the talk of the day!

the inauguration began during my planning period, so in the midst of covering walls and organizing my room, I caught the inauguration. however, as soon as Obama stepped up to take the oath, I had to stop what i was doing. so very exciting!

1:52 pm  

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