Sheila McMullin: A Poetic Feminist MoonSpit Blog

MoonSpit Poetry of Insights, Resources, Activism, and Art

“Breathing Color Into Stained Glass Windows”

Because I do not want to come down from my 2013 inaguration high, I add more praise and intepretation to Richard Blanco’s beautiful inauguration poem titled, “One Today” and President Barack Obama‘s lovely and inspirational inaugural address.

At the top of the President’s journey to a better and more prosperous America, he said,  “our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts,” “until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well,” “ until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote,” “until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity, until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country,” and “until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.” He honored and remembered Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall, three incredibly influential conventions and protests to fight for equal rights for all. I was so proud and happy to stand on the National Mall on January 21st and cheer for my country and all the things we can accomplish when we work together and support one another.

And then Richard Blanco came to the stage giving his poem to all of us. While some people, including myself, began to make our ways toward exits, Blanco’s voice strong and steadfast stopped me and asked me gently not to leave. I was touched at how lovingly he spoke of his parents’ work and how that all led to his standing at the podium right then and there in history. I choked up when he spoke of the murders in Newtown, and was so sad about all the children that now have to be absent. I loved how he convinced us that although there is only one sky, one today, one ground it is big enough. And we can share all of it. We don’t need to be greedy, and I believe this poem to be a beautiful compliment to President Obama’s call to action and his belief that we were made for this moment, and that we will seize it together. We have to do right by one another; we have to be kind. I do not believe these to be options. Blanco’s poem showed us some ways on how to be kind, empathetic, and good to one another. I want to write poetry like this–personal, experiential, and calling for unity. Our breath brings life to majesty, when Blanco breaths “color into stained glass windows.” Beauty of artwork comes from the beauty of our imaginations and the fact that we put our hands to work. I look forward to living in the America that President Obama knows we can have, where “every person can find independence and pride in their work, when the wages of honest labor will liberate families from the brink of hardship,” where sharing art is to share love, and sharing in many different hellos.

To read a great blog post on Blanco and past poets and their inaurgual poems visit From the CatBird Seat Blog at the Poetry and Literature Center.
Watch Blanco read his poem here.

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This entry was posted on February 4, 2013 by in Poetry.

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