Tuesday, January 20, 2009

a poem for obama.

i watched the inauguration this morning, and the parade this afternoon, jaws agape, tears-in-eyes, amazed, humbled, in a daze, proud. i had no idea what to blog about it. too much.
this isn't politics. it's beyond that. and it's not that the man is black; hell, the man is half white; and i claim all of him. i am a mutt, like him, with native american and slave and european immigrant ancestors. i claim all of what he is about: a new way to see what is possible.
bob c sent this poem by derek walcott. it brought it together. yes.

Forty Acres

Out of the turmoil emerges one emblem, an engraving -
a young Negro at dawn in straw hat and overalls,
an emblem of impossible prophecy, a crowd
dividing like the furrow which a mule has ploughed,
parting for their president: a field of snow-flecked
cotton
forty acres wide, of crows with predictable omens
that the young ploughman ignores for his unforgotten
cotton-haired ancestors, while lined on one branch, is
a tense
court of bespectacled owls and, on the field's
receding rim -
a gesticulating scarecrow stamping with rage at him.
The small plough continues on this lined page
beyond the moaning ground, the lynching tree, the tornado's
black vengeance,
and the young ploughman feels the change in his veins,
heart, muscles, tendons,
til the land lies open like a flag as dawn's sure
light streaks the field and furrows wait for the sower.

oh my, oh my.

it wasn't until the 2nd time through that i saw the furrows of the field like stripes in our flag, and saw the scarecrow insisting that change cannot come, and heard the crows cawing. we must ignore them.

we are the sowers. we have the seeds of promise. the young president is plowing the field.

to my soul i say, "Get up, mule. Get up."

1 comment:

lisa carlton said...

I agree..it is so much more than politics. Can't quite get my head around it but feel it in the soul.