Sunday, January 9, 2011

A poet's thoughts on three minutes of silence at the Sidwell Friends School, and a inauguration day poem

This morning I began my day listening to "On Being," a program hosted by Krista Tippett. Poet Elizabeth Alexander was the guest. Her comments about what politicians say, and what they probably wish they could say, are especially timely. You can find those at about 5:47 in the program.

Alexander said that she was fortunate to attend the Sidwell Friends School in DC. One of the most valuable experiences she had there was the three minutes of silence that began each school day. She describes how she cherished those few minutes at about 11:30 here.

Alexander also reads from the poem she wrote and read at President Obama's inauguration. The entire piece is lovely (read it here), but these words in particular struck me today

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 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.

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.

1 comment:

  1. Snow in rural Georgia, what fun.