praise to the poet: young, gifted and black
We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one
The youngest American poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, this “skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother,” as she put it, recited her magical words at a memorable moment of American history. In the first few minutes, she captured our attention, she walked us through the pathos of the painful past with poise and pride reminding us of decades of patience and peaceful protests and marches of hope for change. And then came her opportunity at the historical moment for the most sacred ceremony of our democratic process, the transfer of power, when she recognized the necessity of her voice and her message. Not with the voice of rebellion or anger, but with the musical language of poetry, she said,
“We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace, and the norms and notions of what “just” isn’t always justice.”
Her mesmerizing recitation with eloquence, elegance and energy took us through the maze of history, as she held our hands through the dark passages of the past, the pulse of the present and guided us through the labyrinths of
darkness, and finally to a lighted passage towards a brighter place:
“So, while once we asked, how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe, now we assert, how could catastrophe
possibly prevail over us? 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.”
Reciting only the first few lines, she quickly earned the respect of her audience, not only the very elite of our
political body but the world, to listen, to learn, to ponder, to feel shame and to be elated by each word and through
each line, not only regretting the past, but contemplating the possibilities for the future.
We are striving to forge our union with purpose. To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters
and conditions of man.
Amanda Gorman, the black, Poetic Laurate of style and expression made us tremble with what had gone wrong while she gracefully softened our spirits to envision, “Climbing the Hill” together. She presented her pain with truth and proved how words could empower us and how we can set examples for the next generations to choose between right and wrong.
We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single
mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.
At times, her words and her recitation sounded like comforting melodies tuned in with her inner most honest thoughts and purest sentiments. We enjoyed it as we were looking at a delicately woven tapestry with different shapes and colors spread across the universe for all of us to share, to enjoy walking together freely on the fresh green grass of spring. She did not try to paint a rosy picture of hope or hide the ugliness and darkness within us, she pointed to our flaws and shortcomings, and yet with her amazing talent she displayed the beauty, power and the generosity of the human spirit. She painted her history like we were looking at a vast, tempestuous ocean with the ebbs and flows and muddy, rough waves slamming the coast and later, the clear turquoise blue waters coming back dancing at our feet near the sand.
So, let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left. Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, we will
raise this wounded world into a wondrous one. We will rise from the golden hills of the West. We will rise from the
windswept Northeast where our forefathers first realized revolution. We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the
We will rise from the sun baked South. Amanda Gorman’s delivery of her powerful poem, “The Hill We Climb”, was rich with reality of the past, rancor of the present and renewal of a promised future. Our young, gifted beautiful black poet Laurate promises light at any turn and a chance to change our ways, if we only choose to see the light and showing the courage to change, to be the change and to be the light. For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.