Gay man delivers inaugural poem, One Today, that pays homage to a diverse America

Richard Blanco is first gay person and first Latino to be inaugural poet

Gay man delivers inaugural poem, One Today, that pays homage to a diverse America
21 January 2013

Richard Blanco followed on the footsteps of such celebrated American poets as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou on Monday (21 January) when he delivered a poem at the second inauguration of US President Barack Obama.

Blanco is a 44-year-old man from Maine,  is the first gay man and first Latino chosen as inaugural poet.

Below is a full text of the poem and video of Blanco delivering it during the inauguraton:

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 café 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


Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/gaysouthflorida/2013/01/abc-news-video-gay-hispanic-inaugural-poet-richard-blanco-pays-homage-to-america.html#storylink=cpy

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

A little drama under the Chiang Mai sun

In an exclusive series for Gay Star Travel, Sydney-based journalist Chris Muakcha Topp navigates the Thai city with nit-noi (little) language skills
No thumbnail available

Malaysia blogger slammed for sex vid claims

Raja Petra Kamarudin attacks former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim over sodomy trial and new sex video allegations
No thumbnail available

Rick Santorum goes after Mitt Romney on gay issues

Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney clash over same-sex marriage during Iowa debate
Poll: Nearly half of Pride-goers are straight

Poll: Nearly half of Pride-goers are straight

'LGBT issues are deeply rooted in the population as a whole'
No thumbnail available

St Petersburg repeals ‘gay propaganda’ law

Gay rights activists suspect ban was repealed is because lawmakers do not want to be 'humiliated' by the European Court of Human Rights
No thumbnail available

Gay X Factor Rylan Clark says he knows he won't win

UK X Factor finalist Rylan Clark doesn't care if he's a 'joke act' because he's serious about doing dance music
Business needs more LGBT role models – but allies also vitally important

Business needs more LGBT role models – but allies also vitally important

Persuading allies and friends to champion LGBT issues is vital, say participants in a business panel discussion held as part of Pride in London
No thumbnail available

Pastor: Schools teaching ‘how to be a homo’ caused Sandy Hook shooting

American preacher says schools teaching evolution led to the death of 20 schoolchildren and six adults
No thumbnail available

Gay man attacked for holding hands with boyfriend in London

A 29-year-old is urging everyone to speak out against hate crime after getting attacked in Shoreditch
No thumbnail available

Pride London chair Patrick Williams quits

The chair of Pride London, Patrick Williams, has resigned after criticism of the board’s handling of World Pride