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Showing posts from January, 2009

Praise Song for the Day

The following is a transcript of the inaugural poem, “Praise Song for the Day,” written and recited by Elizabeth Alexander, as provided by Graywolf Press. I have to admit to liking the poem much better when I see it in print than I did when Ms. Alexander recited it at President Obama’s Inauguration.

Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other’s
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 con…

Whistler’s Mother

by Philip Whalen

Mother and Ed are out in the car Wait til I put on some clothes Ed’s in a hurry. He hasn’t eaten since this morning Wait till I put on some clothes. Mother and Ed are out in the car. Do you have any clothes on yet? Let me come it. Wait till I get some clothes on Ed is impatient. He and mother are waiting. Can I come in? Wait till I put on some clothes. Mother and Ed are out in the car Wait till I get into some clothes Can’t I come in? Aren’t you dressed yet? Wait till I put on some clothes Mother and Ed are out in the car Can I come in? Wait till I get on some clothes.

This Land Is Your Land

Image
byWoody Guthrie

















This land is your land. This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me. As I was walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that endless skyway:
I saw below me that golden valley:
This land was made for you and me. I've roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;
And all around me a voice was sounding:
This land was made for you and me. When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:
This land was made for you and me. As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said "No Trespassing."
But on the other side it didn't say nothing,
That side was made for you and me. In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is…