Friday, January 23, 2009

1.20.2009

We Were There, Together

We were there,
pressed together as once we
packed the holds of separate ships,
the stolen or the fleeing;
Now
squeezing closer
to make room in the subway car
unwilling to leave even one behind.

We were there,
waiting together as once we
shuffled in the desperate lines,
hungry for food or for work,
driven from our lands,
picket lines and protest lines;
Now
turning smiling faces to those
in front and behind,
"Where are you all from?" -
from Florida, from Washington, from Maine.

We were there,
all our differences together where once we
were divided by the devil's game
of measuring humanity in fractions,
by the terrible chasm between owner and owned
and the loss of soul in the gap;
Now
gloriously gathered,
multicolored, multicultured,
multifaith multitudes,
a hand-lettered poster proclaiming,
"The Re-United States."

We were there,
rising together,
emerging into the sun from the long, dark passage,
summoned by the shared need to be present for this January day
linking hands and lifting hearts,
the swelling tide of feeling 
spilling tears over the lip of our eyes,
so many assembled that the generated heat
shimmered in the air above us.

This is what we have won:
ourselves and each other,
to fiercely hold these truths,
to keep our eyes and our hearts open,
to see ourselves in each other
in our schools, our streets and our prisons
and so, together,

there is work to be done
so much good
work to be done.

3 comments:

Jamie said...

Annie, thank you for being my proxy. And thank you for the amazing poem.

Jeanette said...

What a beautiful, thoughtful, hopeful poem.
I wasn't physically "there," but now I think I know what my heart would have felt like if I had been.

Cloudscome said...

This is lovely. I can feel myself a part of that joyful crowd just reading this. What a day of celebration!