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Richard Blanco’s Inaugural Poem ‘One Today’

The following poem was delivered by inauguration poet Richard Blanco during ceremonies for  President Obama’s second inaugural Monday.

The text of the poem was provided by the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

“One Today”

One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.

My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper — bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives — to teach geometry, or ring up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.

All of us as vital as the one light we move through,
the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:
equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,
the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming,
or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light
breathing color into stained glass windows,
life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth
onto the steps of our museums and park benches
as mothers watch children slide into the day.

One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk
of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat
and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills
in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands
digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands
as worn as my father’s cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes.

The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains
mingled by one wind — our breath. Breathe. Hear it
through the day’s gorgeous din of honking cabs,
buses launching down avenues, the symphony
of footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,
the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.

Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,
or whispers across cafe tables, Hear: the doors we open
for each other all day, saying: hello, shalom,
buon giorno, howdy, namaste, or buenos días
in the language my mother taught me — in every language
spoken into one wind carrying our lives
without prejudice, as these words break from my lips.

One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed
their majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked
their way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:
weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more report
for the boss on time, stitching another wound
or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,
or the last floor on the Freedom Tower
jutting into a sky that yields to our resilience.

One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn’t give what you wanted.

We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always — home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country — all of us –
facing the stars
hope — a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it — together

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6 comments

  • mark

    f**k that stupid ass white idiot!…….why in the world would a white person vote for a 1/2 negro,when the negroes will NOT vote for a white person?…….isn't that the stupidest thing you've ever seen in your life?……LMFAO & you complete fools!…………WTF are you dumbass's thinking?……….you look silly!

    • DanPhoenix

      Hey there mark, how ya doin'? Taking yer meds? Just a minor point, Blanco is his name, not his color, although i give you credit for knowing some Spanish. His parents are from Cuba, and he is an American. Deal with it.

  • mark

    wonder what's so bad with their own country that they would cowardly abandon it and come to a country that doesn't even want them here?…….wonder why he didn't write a cozy poem for castro?…that's his country's leader………….wonder what year our civil war will be?…..obama divided my country!…….wonder why only 1/2 of america voted for the HALFRICAN AMERICAN?……why didnt the majority of them?….wonder why peole that are on govt handouts that are not employed,and illegal aliens voted for him that shouldn't even be here?……did they just want more free s**t?…..LOL……do you actually think this is a united states?……….R U KIDDING ME?…….LMAO!

    • DanPhoenix

      Hey there mark, really encourage you to check your meds schedule. And just another minor point, more than half of the electorate DID vote for Obama – that's why he is called the "winner" of the election – which is the definition of "majority". Or in spanish, "mayoría". And regarding residency questions, most black Americans trace their roots here in America back further than most whites. Deal with it.

  • Lonniesmith

    Hey Mark,

    No one wants you here. You racist fuck! Tired of your ass leaving evil comments, come out from behind your keyboard you coward. Racism is a sickness of the head, and you will fry in hell because of it. The devil has you in bondage. You are all his!!!!