Neil Hester

All poems © Neil Hester unless otherwritten

Location: North Carolina, United States

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Alexander? Not Good, But...

It's January, and we have a new president. Rejoice! I watched a good deal of the inauguration at school, and most of it was interesting. But, the poem reeked, as Anthony pointed out. In fact, I think Obama might be a better poet than Elizabeth Alexander, whose poem, "Praise Song for the Day", was a serious drag and a definite low of the proceedings. And yet, worse poetic travesties have taken place before:


So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.


Wait. What if I follow Scientology or Pastafarianism? All joking aside, let's look at another excerpt:


You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers--desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot ...
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.


It's very universal. O you, the Bishopee, the Ham, the Bacteriaman, keep praying for that dream. I wish I knew so many denominations so I could write well like she does.

Oh right, "she". Maya Angelou. That's the one. Y'know, they actually made a book with *just* this poem in it, and sold it for, oh, 6-7 bucks, if I remember correctly. Real sad. So, embrace the Alexander number read at Obama's inauguration, with the knowledge that it could have been far worse.

Take Care,