Friday, May 17, 2013

Poem of the Week: Richard Blanco

Richard Blanco             

Excerpt from "One Today"
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 our 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.

-Richard Blanco 

Used by permission. Read the full poem here.

Richard Blanco, a first-generation Cuban American, was chosen by President Obama as the 2013 Inaugural Poet. His three books of poems are City of a Hundred Fires, winner of the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press; Directions to The Beach of the Dead, winner of the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center; and 2012's Looking for The Gulf Motel, winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize and the Thom Gunn Award.  
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If you are interested in reading past poems of the week, feel free to visit the blog archive.   

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