“When day comes, we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid. The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” – American poet Amanda Gorman
A Brief Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted January 23rdm 2021 on Niagara At Large
I almost wasn’t going to post this – first and foremost because it has already gone viral as the poem heard around the world.
But I just can’t help myself on this one.
Like Greta Thunberg, the young climate activist from Sweden, America’s Amanda Gorman shares with the world that offers hope for the future in a world that has recently been going through hell.
Twenty-two year old Amanda Gorman moved virtually every human being on the planet who has a heart and a willingness to listen with a poem she wrote and recited – called ‘The Hill We Climb’ – at this past January 20th’s inauguration ceremonies for U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris.
The editorial board of one of Amerca’s Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers, The Baltimore Sun, put it this way –
“Among the highlights of the inauguration Wednesday of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, was the recitation of “The Hill We Climb” by 22-year-old Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet ever and the first person to be named national youth poet laureate — a position she achieved as a 19-year-old sophomore at Harvard University. …
If Ms. Gorman is representative of this next generation of leaders and thinkers, the country will be just fine.”
As for members of the post Second World War Baby Boomer generation – a generation I happen to be aware of – it may be time for us to finally pull back and stop polluting the planet with our 20th century thinking and activities, and allow more space for young people like Greta and Amanda to shape a healthier, more sustaintable, and more just future.
Doug Draper, Niagara At Large
To watch and hear Amand Gorman recite her poem at the U.S. Inauguration, click on the screen immediately blow –
Here is a transcript of Amanda Gorman’s few moment at the U.S. inauguration, including the full test of her poem –
Mr. President, Dr. Biden, Madam Vice President, Mr. Emhoff, Americans and the world:
“When day comes we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade? The loss we carry, a sea we must wade. We’ve braved the belly of the beast. We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace. In the norms and notions of what just is isn’t always justice.
And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it. Somehow, we do it. Somehow, we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished. 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.
And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect. We are striving to forge our union with purpose, to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.
And so, we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide because we know, to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another. We seek harm to none and harmony for all. Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true. That even as we grieved, we grew. That even as we hurt, we hoped; that even as we tired, we tried; that we’ll forever be tied together, victorious. Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.
Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid. If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we’ve made. That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb if only we dare it. Because being American is more than a pride we inherit; it’s the past we step into and how we repair it. We’ve seen a forest that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy. And this effort very nearly succeeded.
But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated. In this truth, in this faith we trust, for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us. This is the era of just redemption. We feared it at its inception. We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour, but within it, we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves.
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. We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation, because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation. Our blunders become their burdens. But one thing is certain, if we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy, and change our children’s birthright.
So, let us leave behind a country better than one we were left. With every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one. We will rise from the gold-limned hills of the West. We will rise from the wind-swept Northeast where our forefathers first realized revolution. We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the Midwestern states. We will rise from the sun-baked South. We will rebuild, reconcile and recover in every known nook of our nation, in every corner called our country our people diverse and beautiful will emerge battered and beautiful.
When day comes, we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid. The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.
— Amanda Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb,” as recited at the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris
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