The Associated Press challenged America’s Top poets to write an Ode to our new president. Some declined claiming that the muse did not take orders (please!), but others rose to the challenge.
My favorite was from poet, David Lehman. He was born in 1948, studied at Columbia and Cambridge Univerisities, and has written many books, including books of poetry, criticism, and one on detective novels that earned him an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writer’s of America. His poem would have made a beautiful prayer at the Inauguration with its ending blessing, “May God, in this winter hour, shine on your countenance and teach you to balance the heart’s poetry and the mind’s power.”
Pulitzer Prize winning author of the The Color Purple, Alice Walker, wrote “The World Has Changed.” But it is her “Open Letter to Barack Obama” that is most moving. (text here) In it, she says that, “[w]e knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength.” Such beautiful words.
Watching the Inauguration was very moving today; watching history unfold, feeling the overwhelming joy of the people gathered on the Mall, hearing the collective sigh of so many that had gone before whose own lives contributed to today’s events, and listening to the idealistic words of the man who made “Yes, we can” the mantra of a new generation of Americans.
I hope and pray that President Obama makes real the charge set by his own words: “We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.” My prayers and good wishes are with President Obama, his family, and our country.